So I woke up today thinking, ok its 11/11/11, something cool should happen. But would that mean that I would have to do something cool or would something miraculously happen today that would validate the “coolness” of 11/11/11? I carried on my usual morning routine…check the weather, shower, read tech blogs. Engadget, TechCrunch, AVC. And there it was, the tingle down my spine. This is what 11/11/11 is for.
AVC stands for “A Venture Capitalist”. This is the “guru of all things VC” Fred Wilson’s personal blog. I have learned quite a lot from his writings over the past year since I decided to become a full-time entrepreneur. But today was different. I came across a meetup that Fred put together last week, DAMNIT I MISSED IT! But what was it for? Donors Choose. What the hell is that? A site where people donate their organs to science, I thought? Not even close.
DonorsChoose.org is a website that allows teachers from around the nation to post requests for funds to buy specific classroom materials. We all know that the majority of schools across our country are pretty much dead broke and cannot afford to buy the necessary materials to teach kids with. So in short, whoever created this site is a genius. I started to scroll through the hundreds of requests reading each and every one. Well this isn’t easy, obviously I want to help every single one out! I started to narrow down my search.
“Ok Jon, if I was a kid again, what made me really excited to learn?” Technology! So I filtered all results by classrooms in need of tech materials. iPods, iPads, projectors, the requests went on and on. Until I saw one that struck my eye. A solar telescope for kids whose parents are currently serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. Uh, that’s a no brainer. I clicked on the box to type in how much you want to donate and filled the entire request. The parents of these children are fighting day in and day out to make my life in posh SoHo, NY better, so why not do anything I can to help make their kids’ lives better.
This is exactly “that thing” I was looking for from 11/11/11, I figured it out. It wasn’t winning the lottery, or a surprise performance from Radiohead in Union Square Park, or aliens coming to say hi, it was something real. It was that thing that sent the tingle down your spine. It was finding something that you never knew existed that allowed you to share your good life with others that you have never met.
I urge you all to visit this website and donate whatever you can. $10 times a lot of people is a lot of money. If these kids can’t have the simplest materials to learn with then how are they going to be able to run our country in generations to come. Thank you Fred Wilson for bringing this to my attention and making this day exactly what it is supposed to be. Happy 11/11/11 everyone.
Siri this, Siri that. Well guess what, Siri SUCKS!!
Apple has a genuine talent to make people fall in love with their products. I’m not going to lie, I myself have fallen in love with every Apple product since my IIGS. But Apple had some help in making people fall in love, they actually had really cool and perfectly functioning products! Well, that is until now.
Siri has been getting more buzz as a feature in the new iPhone than any other previous addition I can think of. But this makes no sense! Products like Siri have been around for years, but of course when Apple announces it as a native feature everyone has to go wild. For what?! The thing doesn’t even work! If I have used Siri 100 times since I bought my new 4S, MAYBE it worked 5 times. I’m not talking about trying it 10 times until it gets it right, I’m talking about what it should be doing, getting it right the first time! Even the simplest task of asking it to call someone in my phonebook works once in a blue moon. Dictating an email? Forget about it. Even if it gets the wording right (which I can bet you it never will), it has no clue how to punctuate. How can someone send an important text or email without correct punctuation?? I feel like we’re taking a step back in the email evolution if everyone starts using Siri to write for them.
The main point of this blog entry doesn’t have to do with the capabilities of Siri (although I can go on for hours about them), but the loophole that Apple did not find. Siri poses a major security breach to anyone who locks their iPhone will soon figure out.
While your phone is locked, if you hold down the home button or lift your handset to your head, Siri will activate. “But wait, the phone is locked so how can I access a feature of it? I’m sure it won’t work though”. WRONG! Tell it to call someone in your phone. It will! You will see the persons name and their phone number. Ok, so now anyone can get access to any name in your contacts. Tell it to ask you what you are doing tomorrow. Siri will reply with you entire calendar entries. Ok, so now anyone can gain access to your contacts AND find out where you will be!
Using Siri is like leaving your phone unlocked at all times. There is no setting to turn off Siri while in lock mode. The only way to avoid this issue is to turn Siri off all together. I am in utter shock that Apple has not addressed this issue or released a fix. While I am and always will be a big Apple supporter, this issue is unacceptable coming from the most powerful company in the world. I really hope this issue gets repaired soon and that Apple never let’s anything like this slide again.
Maybe as a “sorry” they can double the life of the crappy 4S battery. (One can dream right??)
I went to the November New York Tech Meetup last night at the 92Y (pretty awesome spot). Anyway, out of everyone that presented, one site stood out far beyond the others. Enter LoCreep.
It’s a common scenario, a guy walks up to a girl at a bar asking for her number, the girl gets creeped out and doesn’t know what to do. This is where LoCreep comes in. She registers on the site and is gvien a unique phone number. She gives this number to the lurking creep and then waits. When he calls he later and leaves her a voicemail, she gets notified and is able to listen to it, share it with her friends, and post it to social networks. The creep’s real phone number is now registered on the LoCreep website for other girls to be aware of.
There is also a reverse lookup. If you are suspicious of someone being a creep, you can type in their phone number and see if they come up. You never know!