It seems like everyone is playing Pokémon Go. And if you’re not, you have at least witnessed others playing or have heard stories about it. For those who are not too familiar with it, Pokémon Go is a mobile game (available for both Android and iPhone) which uses your device’s ability to track time and location, allowing you to catch Pokémon like the original game. It creates an augmented reality where users must walk around to find Pokémon, and then throw virtual Poké balls to catch them.
Because the game requires you to walk around outside using your phone’s camera to see the Pokémon, you can likely imagine the dangers this can cause. In fact, there have been various stories in the news about how it can go wrong. Here are some tips on how to stay safe while playing Pokémon Go.
If you don’t feel safe, don’t go.
While catching a rare Pokémon can be quite alluring, it might be best to pass if it requires you to visit a questionable area. Different landmarks and real-life places are used for Poké Stops and Poké Gyms, however, the Pokémon are mostly randomly generated in various places (ex. backyards, inside buildings). These places are not always ideal, so use your best judgment when it comes to unsafe places or private property.
Be aware of yourself and others.
A large part of this game requires you to walk around staring at your phone. Remember, not everyone is playing the game so they may not understand what you are doing. Try your best to avoid loitering near homes or businesses. If someone approaches you, politely explain the game and what you are doing. Keep in mind that if someone feels uneasy about our presence, or if you are somewhere you shouldn’t be, they have the right to call the cops.
If you’re going for a long walk, be prepared.
Again, this game requires a lot of walking, especially if you catch an egg. Sometimes these walks can go on for longer than you expected. If you plan on heading out for a walk, be sure to bring water and plan your route out ahead of time with periodic rest stops just in case. That will minimize your risk of getting lost or overexerting yourself.
Be vigilant of your surroundings and your stuff.
Because Pokémon gyms and Poké stops are usually in highly populated areas, and are probably getting an increase in foot traffic, it is important to be mindful of your belongings. With so many people around, you never know if someone has bad intentions. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the game, so keep hold of your belongings to avoid someone walking off with it.
Watch out for scams.
Just days after its release, there were already scams out there, claiming you would have to pay a monthly for the free game. To clarify, you have the ability to make in-app purchases for in-app currency, however, outside of those, you do not have to pay to download or play the game.
Aside from that, be wary of lure modules on Poké stops, as these have already been used by armed robbers to attract players to a secluded area. That’s not to say that they’re all bad, but understand that some circumstances are questionable and, in that case, you may want to skip the chance and wait for the next opportunity.
Be courteous to others.
Another great aspect of this game, aside from getting people out of the house and on their feet, is the possibility of meeting and connecting with new people. With that being said, courtesy can go a long way. Don’t assume that every person engulfed in their phone is playing because it just simply isn’t the case. And if you approach someone and it seems like they don’t want to be bothered, leave them alone. If you’re the type who enjoys trash talk, please proceed with caution. This is meant to be a fun, light-hearted game.
As far as Poké stop locations go, if you are going to walk through a graveyard, be respectful of those who are there to grieve. The deceased have the right to rest in peace.
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Summertime is here, which means the heat (and your electricity bill) is rising. You may not have considered it before, but smart home automation can help you manage your energy consumption. By wasting less energy and using it more efficiently, not only will you be saving money on bills, but you can reduce your carbon footprint.
We could all use a little help when it comes to efficient energy consumption. To put our energy use in perspective, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, Americans spend $241 billion on energy per year (approximately $2,100 per household).
So how can smart home automation help?
How many times have you left a room and forgot to turn off the light? According to the International Energy Agency, lighting accounts for 19% of global electricity use. Smart lighting can prevent you from wasting energy.
Thanks to infrared and photo cell technology, smart lights can distinguish whether there’s sufficient natural light in a given room or portion of a home. Along with motion detection, there smart devices can adjust your lighting accordingly in an effort to reduce unnecessary use.
Dimmers and lighting control solutions can also help. These devices reduce use by a 1:1 ratio, meaning if you dim your lights about 30%, your usage decreases by 30%. Added bonus: smart lighting can help to enhance the ambiance for parties or events.
It’s nice to walk into your home when it is set to the perfect temperature, but leaving your heater or air conditioner on all the time is not necessarily ideal. The U.S. Department of Energy states that heating and cooling constitute roughly half of your utility bill.
Luckily, smart thermostats allow you to control your thermostat remotely. In case you forget to turn off your system, or you want to start it up as you arrive home, you can access your thermostat with your smart phone or device. Furthermore, zone-based thermostats can divide your home into sections so that unoccupied rooms are not needlessly being cooled or heated.
Smart Power Strips
When you turn out the lights at night, do you see glowing LEDs staring at you? These are known as idle currents (“electronic vampires” if you will), which continue to use energy when left plugged in. Idle power accounts for 10% of household electricity use, which may seem like nothing, but it can certainly add up.
Instead of unplugging all of your devices when they are not actively in use, you might want to consider installing smart power strips. These can monitor your devices and detect when they go into standby mode and automatically shut them down.
There are plenty other options out there, such as smart irrigation systems and automatic faucets to help reduce water consumption. And amid the drought in California, this could be extremely beneficial. Do you employ any smart home devices that help your energy or water consumption? Share your favorites with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
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Security cameras can be very helpful in protecting your home and capturing important footage. However, most of the footage captured is uneventful and mundane, wasting precious storage space, energy and time. With the new Camio app, problems like this can easily be solved.
The Camio app, created by ex-Google employee Carter Maslan, works with images captured from a smartphone camera and uses special algorithms. These specialized algorithms help to detect humans and identify ordinary events from extraordinary events. For example, the changing of lighting would be deemed ordinary, versus a window breaking, which would be extraordinary. From there, Camio dictates which footage gets stored in the cloud or discarded. What is stored can then be searched with common keywords.
By utilizing selective storage, reviewing footage becomes much easier, as you need not sift through useless footage. Instead, you have a record of “extraordinary” events. Since less data is being uploaded for storage, the Camio app consumes a considerably smaller amount of bandwidth. Also, surveillance recordings are protected with encryption as well as a password for accessing stored videos.
Most customers employ the Camio app for monitoring pets, nannies, or even babies and kids. However, Maslan believes small to medium-sized businesses could benefit from this service, thanks to its ease of use and substantial affordability.
Do you use the Camio app, or are you considering using the app for your home or business? Share your thoughts and experiences with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, or Pinterest.
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The demand for wearable technology seems to be growing. From smart watches to fitness sensors, the use for wearable tech spans a wide spectrum. While novelty uses are often highlighted in the media, wearable devices can have a great impact on the visually impaired also.
A wearable, collision warning device is making its way to the market. The device is worn on a person’s chest to prevent unnecessary collisions. Rather than being based on proximity, the device would instead evaluate the time to collision and issue a warning as necessary. For example, while wearing the device, if something is headed into your path or if you’re going to walk into something, it delivers a beeping alert.
This wearable device can be beneficial to all visually impaired persons, but is especially suited for those with fading or lost peripheral vision. In comparison to other visually impaired persons, these individuals are not conditioned to be alert for impending dangers that they cannot see.
In controlled settings, a study conducted by Researchers from Massachusetts Eye and Ear at Schepens Research Institute showed that accidents were reduced by 37% with minimal change in patient walking speeds. Next, the researchers are looking to test these devices in real world situations. If results return favorable outcomes, we may see this wearable device sooner than later.
While it’s great that this wearable device is gaining attention, it’s not the first in the field of assistive tech devices for the visually impaired. A prototype system of a head-mounted camera that produces 3D maps was introduced in 2009, and Tacit is a wrist-worn device that provides haptic feedback through sonar pulses. There are also walking sticks which house advanced technology and robot guides that act as guide dogs in stair-free environments.
These devices are helpful, but are much more high tech in comparison to this collision warning wearable device. How do you think this device, or any of the others mentioned, will have a lasting impact on the visually impaired? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, or Pinterest.
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