Learn How To Cook Or Polish Your Kitchen Skills With These Three Recipe Websites

Learn How To Cook Or Polish Your Kitchen Skills With These Three Recipe Websites
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Why keep separate food and recipe website accounts, when you have Pinterest? For those who are passionate about food and cooking, maybe there IS a need.

However you find them, it’s always great to find new recipes, as well as new ideas for old favorites, so you may want to check out the following recipe websites:

Learn How To Cook Or Polish Your Kitchen Skills With Three Food And Recipe Websites

Yummly: If you want to be able to bookmark interesting recipes from the different blogs and websites that don’t have a built-in Recipe Box or a system to collect your favorites, Yummly is the website to use. You can even add your own recipes and share them with your friends using your Yummly recipe link. You may also add their Bookmarklet button, and you can “Yum!” the different recipes you browse, as you go. Just “Yum!” it and forget it!

All Recipes: If you want a rich, multi-media experience in learning how to cook your favorite dishes, this should be your go-to site. They have recipes listed as text and photo posts, as well as in instructional video form, so you won’t run out of ways to learn how to cook your favorite dishes the right way. If you need help figuring out your meals for the week, you should check out their Menu Planner.

Food.com: Food.com, just like Yummly, has a visual format similar to Pinterest. So if you already like the way Pinterest presents your favorite food. Food.com gives you great ideas for your meals. We highly recommend browsing their How-To section. They also have videos on how to cook your favorite dishes.

You’d be surprised to know how many other food sites there are. In fact, this list of the Top 15 Most Popular Recipe Websites would be the best place to start your search for that perfect food and recipe site for you. If you aren’t satisfied by the look and feel of our three picks, one of the other 12 sites just might fit you. For instance, Chow.com has a section on cookware, so if you’re passionate about keeping your kitchen fully equipped for whatever dish catches your fancy, Chow.com may give you recommendations worth picking up.

On the whole, cooking isn’t rocket science, though it may come with a learning curve for most. Maybe you’re a foodie with a secret desire to finally learn how to cook. Maybe you’re helpless in the kitchen, adding too much salt than you’re supposed to. Maybe these websites, and following their recipes to the letter would get you on your way to becoming, at least, a passable cook.

 

Photo Credits: Yummly.com, Allrecipes.com, Food.com

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Browser News: Microsoft Unveils The Edge; Opera Mini Now Has Facebook Notifications

Browser News: Microsoft Unveils The Edge; Opera Mini Now Has Facebook Notifications
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Browsers are very much a part of today’s ultra-modern lifestyle, and people are forever looking for faster, better browsers for their laptops or mobile devices. So today, we bring you updates on two browsers from two of the biggest names in tech.

Microsoft Unveils the Edge

The Microsoft In the past, techies hailed Microsoft’s Internet Explorer as the worst piece of software, ever. Microsoft seemed to have taken the hint, and finally built a beautiful browser that The Next Web actually sings its praises. It reportedly makes for a very seamless experience, and if you use a convertible laptop and tablet device, switching between modes is as slick as butter. Believe it or not, The Next Web’s Napier Lopez is so impressed, he even says that “Chrome, Firefox, and Opera are nowhere close.” For users of dual/multi-mode devices such as the Microsoft Surface, Asus Transformer or Lenovo Yoga, this is great news, indeed. The only downside is that the browser only comes bundled in with Windows 10, and isn’t available as a standalone app. No worries, though, as Windows 7 and 8+ users can reserve for and download Windows 10 for free, starting July 29th.

 

 Opera Mini for a Faster Phone

If you find yourself dealing with an increasingly slower phone or tablet, we’ll let you in on a secret: Facebook must be hogging your ROM space. Facebook’s app, as well as its Messenger app, accrues an insane amount of data over time. If you installed it with an initial filesize of around 30MB, don’t be surprised when it eventually swells up to 50MB or more. All those cat pictures your crazy cat lady friend is sharing or sending you via Messenger can and will add up. But before you decide to swear off Facebook forever, the solution is to just chuck the apps and install Opera Mini instead. Opera Mini not only compresses browsing data, saving you bandwidth on your data subscription, it also keeps the data downloaded to your device to a minimum. So if you want to be able to keep Facebooking without watching your phone turn into a slowpoke over time, just replace your Facebook apps with Opera Mini, and keep http://m.facebook.com on your Speed Dial. And you know what’s even more awesome? You get Facebook Notifications and Messenger Notifications, straight from Opera. Nifty, eh?

Whether you’ll be an early adopter for the Microsoft Edge and Windows 10, or you’re looking to keep your device slick and fast with Opera Mini, we’re hoping these browser updates brought you up to speed in what’s new in browser news.

Photo Credits: Ankit Mohanty/Quora, modified by Brosix

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How To Eat To Keep Your Brain Healthy

How To Eat To Keep Your Brain Healthy
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A while back, we gave you an idea of how to eat, in order to boost your productivity. We promised to give you the foods that will stimulate neurotransmitter production, so that your mood remains on an even, optimal level, as well as keep your brain from oxidative stress.

The top three neurotransmitters that are responsible for keeping mood levels high and the brain alert are Dopamine, Serotonin and GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). The neurotransmitter responsible for learning and memory is Acetylcholine. If you keep these neurotransmitters at optimal levels, you’ll experience a happier, more positive state of mind.

While there are herbal ways to keep these neurotransmitters high, unless you have a mood disorder, you really shouldn’t experiment with herbal supplements such as St. John’s Wort or Kava-kava. Only use these supplements under the advice and supervision of a doctor.

The best way to keep your brain happy and healthy is to keep a well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet, and to work these foods into it.

For Dopamine

Dopamine is synthesized from tyrosine, an amino acid that is found in all animal meats and products. So unless you’re a vegetarian or a vegan, consume lean meats and dairy daily, as part of your diet. If you are on a plant-only paradigm, you can get it from green leafy vegetables, beets, lima, fava beans, and other legumes, oatmeal, wheat germ, almonds, and even sesame and pumpkin seeds. As for fruits, blueberries, avocadoes, bananas, watermelons, apples, and figs are rich in tyrosine. If you like sea vegetables or seaweed, those are rich in tyrosine, as well. If you like drinking green tea, hot chocolate, especially that from raw cocoa, and even coffee, these will increase dopamine production.

For Serotonin

Serotonin is synthesized from tryptophan, which is also an amino acid, and found in protein-rich food. However, eating doses of protein actually lowers the levels of serotonin in the blood, so according to experts, eating carbohydrate-rich foods as you eat protein sources, as well as eating carbohydrate sources on their own, will help the body create and boost serotonin levels. In order to help your body create more serotonin, eat tomatoes, hickory nuts, walnuts, and add pineapples, kiwi fruits, plums, and bananas to your diet. As for tryptophan sources, consume oatmeal, soy, cheese, eggs, fish, seafood, meat, poultry, chickpeas, beets, and snack on seeds and nuts.

To keep your brain from aging faster than it should be, eat these foods

Curry, which contains turmeric and other spices, may prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Broccoli and cauliflower contain choline, which may aid the growth of new brain cells. Celery, peppers and carrots contain luteolin, which appears to cause inflammation in the brain to subside. Inflammation in the brain seems to be the biggest cause of neurodegeneration, and consuming sources of luteolin seems to help curb this form of neurodegeneration. Magnesium plays an important role in speeding up message transmission between brain cells, so consuming food rich in magnesium will help you think faster and better. Sources of Magnesium include chickpeas, garbanzos, and kelp.

Antioxidants are also crucial in preserving the brain from oxidative stress, so it’s also a great idea to consume fruits rich in antioxidants. Blueberries already help in dopamine production, however they also serve to provide antioxidants, not to mention help you think sharper, learn faster, and retain memories better. Other antioxidant-rich fruits include strawberries, black currant, grape, cranberries, dried plums, and boysenberries. Açai berries were hailed as a superfruit in recent years, and indeed, it may play a role in keeping your brain healthy. Goji berries, which come from Tibet, are being studied as an aid to the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists observed that laboratory animals treated with goji berry extracts seemed to be protected from the toxic effects of the beta amyloid protein, which is linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

Supplements to add to your neurotransmitter-friendly diet:  

  • Turmeric extracts. Turmeric now comes in supplement form, which is added to the treatment of diabetics, Alzheimer’s patients, as well as cancer patients. Take this to increase the levels of both dopamine and serotonin.
  • Fish Oil. Omega-3, composed of EPA and DHA, as well as Omega-6, are building blocks of the brain. These are actively involved in the synthesis of fetal tissues, and when a human body loses these with old age, the effect is a loss of cognitive function and mental focus. Taking Fish Oil will decrease inflammations throughout the body and optimize blood flow, both of which serve to improve brain function, aside from its targeted role in keeping the brain healthy. The intake of 9.6 grams of Fish Oil daily is also a supplement, and even alternative to depression treatment.
  • Vitamin E. Vitamin E not only keeps one’s skin supple and smooth, it also aids in brain health. Recent studies have found out that Alzheimer’s patients seem to have lower levels of Vitamin E. Vitamin E also prevents stroke, and will improve overall brain performance. Experts recommend a daily dose of 15mg of Vitamin E.

 

As with all dietary modifications and experimentation with supplements, it’s always best to consult your doctor, as well as a nutritionist. While we are 100% confident that these are sensible and helpful dietary tweaks, we still heartily recommend that you consult your doctor and nutritionist, to be sure.

And if you do take our suggestions into consideration, here’s to happy and healthy brain-boosting noshing! :)

 

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5 Essential Apps and Web Services for Mind Mapping

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MindMapping

 

When conceptualizing for a project or a campaign, we are commonly filled with diverse thoughts and random ideas. However, our mind can only hold so much, and those great ideas might vanish. We typically opt to scribble down ideas on paper. However, with a piece of paper and pen not being always readily available, luckily technology has come to ease out problems over time.

Instead of constructing concepts on a piece of paper, it’s more efficient to take advantage of our readily available gadgets and their smart built-in features. Today’s premium smartphones come with large storage capacities with access to Cloud for more space to collaborate with colleagues in real-time even when on the go. O2 featured the LG G4 and its ability to have access to 100GB of Google Drive storage for two years or equivalent to roughly 300,000 HD pictures. Meetings and mind mapping can be made easier with smartphone features such as these.

Below, we’ve rounded up a selection of five essential apps and web services for mind mapping that are dependable when it comes to project development and organizing thoughts.

1. MindMeiser- This is a widely used mobile mind mapping app developed by MeisterLabs. It is free but it has several commercial options for personal accounts that range from $4.99 per month to $14.99 for the business account. This app has a straightforward user interface, making brainstorming a breeze. It also features a live chat where you can discuss over and exchange your ideas with your colleagues in real time. Moreover, since it is cloud-based, you can seamlessly sync your files to your online account and access it via your devices.

2. Freemind- This popular software is an open source brainstorming tool built in Java that can be accessed in Windows, Mac, and Linux for free. It is a trustworthy cross-platform app that has plenty of features that include location-based mapping and functional collaboration tools. It may also be used to create complex diagrams that can be exported as HTML, PDF, OpenDocument, SVG, or PNG.

3. Freeplane- Just like Freemind, this open source app is the perfect diagram and chart tool for those who don’t want to spend a single penny (as it comes for free). It can run on any device with Java. With this app, you can formulate your ideas effortlessly through its drag and drop functionality and even customize it by putting some shapes and colors.

4. MindApp- This project planning tool features keyboard shortcuts, map, and text formatting for organizing your diagrams. You can also visually curate ideas and brainstorms through its wide range of shapes, lines, color, borders, and background options. It is available as an in-browser or as a Windows desktop app and can be downloaded for free.

5. Popplet- If you’re on a lookout for a fun and user-friendly mind mapping essential, then you may take this one into consideration. With its integrated large idea boxes tagged as “popples,” you can visually save your ideas, inspirations, and thoughts in a stylish manner. This free app is also ideal for those working in teams for a certain project as it allows you to connect to multiple devices.

Whether you’re using an iOS or an Android device, you may take a spin of these five essential apps and web services that will come in handy in mapping out resources and merging new ideas for your project. Thus, the next time you feel your mind is empty of ideas during a brainstorming session, consult this post on some lifehacks you can apply in the office. Stay tuned on our page for more productivity and working tips.

Exclusive for Brosix
Written by All-in-the-Mind Girl

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Lifehacks at The Office: Enjoy Your Work More

Lifehacks at The Office: Enjoy Your Work More
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We spend much of our waking hours at work – whether we work at home or at a regular office, our most productive time is when we are working. Stress can easily kick in if you are working too much and not enjoying any bit of it. Try these simple hacks to keep you upbeat at work.

Keep your work area clean

How can one possibly work productively if the working environment sits in a pile of trash and mess? Working in a cluttered, chaotic environment often impacts negatively on your productivity.

office work hacksStart your work week right by clearing up your desk. Put away all the unnecessary clutter in your table, organize your supplies, file your paper documents. Every few weeks, have someone clean your keyboard (if you can’t or won’t clean it yourself). Yes, that computer keyboard that you use every day is home to all sorts of bad bacteria that can make you or your colleagues sick. Keep a stash of antibacterial wipes or disinfectant.

If you are allowed to, bring some fresh flowers to lighten up your work table.

You can also post some of your favourite motivational quotes to keep you inspired all day.

Take a walk

Avoid a sedentary work environment. Even if you can, you are not advised to just sit behind your desk and computer the entire day. Get up and get some fresh air. Taking a 15-minute walk will do you good. Maximize your lunch break to walk outside to grab a lunch or coffee.

An office experiment showed that employees who took two 15-minute ‘walkies’ per day for 30 days, completed their tasks more accurately and quicker than before. Walk around your office and talk to colleagues about a project, engage in productive conversations. At times, walking will keep you more alert and awake than a cup of coffee.

Create a visually engaging work place

office work hacksMake work a source of creativity, not stress. Sitting correctly while working can increase blood flow, metabolism and improve focus, energy and productivity. Have your office provide you with well-designed ergonomic work furniture. Good equipment will minimize work-related strain, the most common of which are back and neck pain.

You work area deserves some love. Design it in such a way that you will feel still creative and inspired even when you’re at your busiest hour. Put up a doodle board where you can write your work goals for the day or for the week.

The small changes that you make in your work area can have potential results in your productivity.

Another top tip – indulge in inspiration.

Stretch, stand and smile

Keeping a healthy working environment with your colleagues will definitely keep you wanting to go to work. Having friends at the office is important to get that ‘office vibe’ going on. You work as a team and you also strive as a team to achieve targets and deadlines. Cultivating a healthy office culture is important not just for the company but also for you and your colleagues.

Lucky are those who have sit-stand workstations. But if you don’t have one, you can always stand up and stretch any time of the day. Move around a bit, rest your eyes for a few minutes.

Doing these simple things will make your work or any work easy. And always remember to smile, it will give you an instant ‘perk up my mood’ boost.

 

Images: “My office desk” and “home office” from Flickr.com. Featured image created for Brosix.

 

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There’s a Giant Diversity Gap in Tech

There’s a Giant Diversity Gap in Tech
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This infographic released by the Wall Street Journal shows the latest diversity scale, released this 2015, in the leadership and employment of some of the biggest technology companies.

A quick look reveals that tech giants like LinkedIn, Ebay, Yahoo, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Intel, HP, Microsoft, Amazon and Apple need to do more when it comes to improving the ethnicity and gender make-up of their workforce.

diversity, gender, technology

Based on the latest data, Ebay, LinkedIn and Google hired the most number of women, with a range of 18 to 24 percent of their total workforce. Apple has not yet updated its report. Although last year, it tied with Google and Twitter at 30 percent hiring rate of women employees.

These numbers show that women are losing their ground in the tech industry. In fact, the percentage of women employees in 10 tech companies surveyed in 1999 was higher at 37 percent. In 2005, it went down to 33 percent. Now it is down to an average of 31 percent at eBay.

Like in the previous years, Caucasian males executives dominate leadership positions in the above-mentioned companies.

Last year, Twitter, Google and Facebook have issued self-effacing statements on their state of diversity like “we have a lot more work to do” and “we are not where we want to be when it comes to diversity.”

This year, we are reading and hearing rehashed statements. The diversity reports issued by tech companies are showing same old results.

Like Facebook, which disclosed that 85 percent of its tech workforce are composed of males, while 69 percent of all its employees are males. Female Facebook employees comprise only 31 percent, Hispanic employees remain at 4 percent, and blacks are at the bottom minority at only 2 percent. These figures are too low, even for a company that celebrates diversity with millions of rainbow-colored profile photos.

“As these numbers show, we have more work to do — a lot more,” said Maxine Williams, Facebook’s global head of diversity.

In an official blog post detailing its report, Williams said, “Diversity is something that we’re treating as everyone’s responsibility at Facebook, and the challenge of finding qualified but underrepresented candidates is one that we’re addressing as part of a strategic effort across Facebook. Since our strategic diversity team launched last year, we’re already seeing improved new hire figures and lower attrition rates for underrepresented groups.”

The diversity state at Facebook reflects the diversity challenge faced by the entire Silicon Valley that is predominantly white and male.

For years, tech companies withheld information on their diversity data. Hewlett Packard released its report in 2010 after it lost a Freedom of Information Act appeal.

Google, which brand and services rely on making the Internet more open and accessible to all, also fought attempts to disclose its workforce diversity data. It was only last year that the search giant released its report after a series of criticisms from diversity advocates. Other tech companies followed suit. The data revealed showed that in most cases, less than 10 percent of the companies’ overall employees were either black or Latino, compared to the 27 percent in the American workforce as a whole.

How to bridge diversity

Companies are exerting efforts and pouring in millions to address the industry-wide diversity problem:silentdiversity

  • Intel embarked on a five-year, $300-million diversity development plan to bring the company to full representation by 2020.
  • Apple, forged a $50-million partnership with institutions supporting women and minorities pursuing computer science majors.
  • Cisco’s approach was to address the issue starting from the top management.
  • Google is sponsoring the college education of high school and undergraduate female, black, Latino and Native American students who are interested to pursue computer science and engineering degrees.

Despite these efforts, there are embedded ‘cultural issues’ within the tech industry that involves views on ethnicity and gender that results to the diversity problem.

Images: “Silent diversity” and “Diversity cupcakes” from Flickr.com. Used under CC license. Some rights reserved. Featured image created for Brosix.

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What Will Happen to Twitter?

What Will Happen to Twitter?
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Early this week, Twitter’s Dick Costolo announced that he will step down as the company’s CEO effective July 1. The news of his resignation resulted to many speculations as to who will lead the company and what direction it would take now to take steam off from constant pressure due to sluggish user growth and unsuccessful attempts at making the company more appealing.

Costolo has been under pressure from the high expectations of Wall Street, the company’s Board and investors since 2013 after Twitter went public. The last straw was the open constructive criticism issued by Chris Sacca, one of Twitter’s early investors who wrote a lengthy blog post titled “What Twitter Can Be that narrated his suggestions on how the company can overcome its current predicament.

Costolo said, “I am tremendously proud of the Twitter team and all that the team has accomplished together during my six years with the Company. We have great leaders who work well together and a clear strategy that informs our objectives and priorities.”

Costolo who says he loves the company, will stay as a Board Member. Now acting as interim CEO is Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s Chairman, co-founder and first CEO.

“There is no one better than Jack Dorsey to lead Twitter during this transition. He has a profound understanding of the product and Twitter’s mission in the world as well as a great relationship with Twitter’s leadership team. I am deeply appreciative of the confidence the Board, the management team and the employees have placed in me over the years, and I look forward to supporting Twitter however I can going forward,” Costolo added.

In the immediate hours after the company announced the change in leadership, Twitter’s share rose to more than 7 percent. But the following day, after Costolo and Dorsey appeared on the news to discuss the future of the company, the gains have slide and went down at nearly 6 percent before the CEO change.

Twitter said that their search for a new CEO is a real deal. Analysts also pointed out that Twitter should bring in an outsider to introduce some fresh perspective to the company.

Reinventing the social networking service

All successful tech companies go through major reinvention every few years. Like what Mark Zuckerberg is doing to Facebook — and all the changes to its timeline and news feed and its neverending tweaking of its privacy settings.

Sacca wrote that “hundreds of millions of new users will join and stay active on Twitter, hundreds of millions of inactive users will return to Twitter, and hundreds of millions more will use Twitter from the outside if Twitter can do the following:

  • Make Tweets effortless to enjoy,
  • Make it easier for all to participate, and
  • Make each of us on Twitter feel heard and valuable.

He added, “accomplishing this isn’t hard and there are obvious, concrete steps to fix it all. Done right, countless users new and old will find Twitter indispensable, use Twitter more, see great ads, buy lots of stuff, and make the company much more money along the way.

Days after the major announcement, Twitter unveiled Project Lightning, a new feature that could either make or break the social networking service.

Project Lightning is under development and will roll out in few months. From what was already announced, the new feature will allow users to follow live events through curated streams of tweets, photos and videos.

Twitter hired a team of editors to do what it has been trying to do in the past years curation. “It’s a brand-new way to look at tweets,” says Twitter Product Head Kevin Weil. “This is a bold change, not evolutionary.” 

Events will be entered around photo and video, and they won’t appear in the traditional timeline format. “It could be current events. It could be breaking news. It could be awards shows or sports. But also cultural events and moments, Well said. Basically, if people are tweeting about it, it becomes an event.

So far, these are what we know about Project Lightning:

  • A new Twitter mobile app will be launched. Press the new button to view events taking place that people are tweeting about
  • It will rely mainly on visual-heavy curated content
  • It will use the concept of “events”
  • Both logged-in and logged-out users can use the feature
  • It will instantly load videos and images that can be embedded across the Web and other apps
  • A team of editors will select the best and most relevant tweets and package them into a collection
  • The images will not appear as a feed on the timeline but will occupy the entire screen. Click, swipe and scroll will move from one image or video to another.
  • The collections will also include and promote videos posted on Vines and Periscope

If Twitter will eventually tell its own story and if Project Lightning can save the embattled social networking service, we have yet to see.

 

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This Week In Games: Facebook Messenger Games & E3 2015

This Week In Games: Facebook Messenger Games & E3 2015
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First Facebook Messenger Game now out

What is more addicting than Facebook Messenger? You’ve guessed it right — Facebook Messenger games.

Yes. The social networking giant has finally incorporated games and apps to its messenger service that has over 600 million users worldwide. The first game for Facebook Messenger is Doodle Draw, a drawing game.

Doodle Draw for iOS and Android is very similar to Draw Something which derived its origins from the classic board game Pictionary.

Facebook’s introduction of games and other third-party apps to the Messenger is one surefire way to keep users spend more time on the messaging app (remember Zynga and its arsenal of colorful, addictive games).

More time on Facebook means more user engagement and more revenues for Facebook. This move from the social networking company is just one of its many enterprising ways of monetizing the social media usage of netizens.

With the introduction of games, Messenger users can do more than just chat and send messages and emojis to friends.

Doodle Draw for Messenger is a free app.

Facebook’s Messenger ranked among the top three apps on Apple’s App Store and Google Play.

This Week In Games: Facebook Messenger Games & E3 2015

 

E3 2015 Preview

The gaming world is all-hyped up and excited about the upcoming Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3) 2015 happening on June 16 to 18 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

E3 is the biggest video games show/conference in the planet. It is convened

annually and gathers thousands of gaming enthusiasts, game publishers, tech journalists and companies in the electronic gaming and entertainment industry.

To give you a preview of what to expect at E3 — the biggest news, the latest game titles and other surprises, check out these useful resources:

All you need to know about E3 is here. For the best E3-themed memes, click this. If you don’t have too much time but you still want a heads up on E3, watch these two-minute video teasers by Lucy and Chris.

Gamespot listed confirmed games that are scheduled to make an appearance or debut at E3. This list will guide you on what to look out for in news coverage of E3 next week

The Guardian also compiled its selection of 15 most anticipated E3 games. The article preview comes with snapshots and brief description of the game titles.

For an up-to-date collection of E3 content and news stories, check out IGN. The ultimate gaming website also dedicated a portal of everything E3. Go ahead, read on and drool.

Time.com’s E3 preview slanted towards more popular, mainstream titles like Star Wars Battlefront, Disney Infinity 3.0 and Legend of Zelda.

Watch this video news made by ibtimes.co.uk video game correspondents about their Microsoft Xbox and PS4 predictions.

For everything about the pioneer gaming giant Nintendo, check this microsite.

The staff of Games Radar website came up with an awesome slideshow that listed the games they expect to see at E3. ###

Images: Gaming console and Gaming from Pixabay.com. Some rights reserved.

 

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The Impact of Data Breach

The Impact of Data Breach
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A massive data breach possibly involving the confidential records of at least four million federal government employees was revealed last week. Based on initial reports, the intrusion on the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) was due to a hacking that is believed to have originated from China. The cyberattack is believed to have potentially affected every agency of the U.S. government.

The extent and impact of the data breach is still undetermined but this incident could be the largest case of data breach in U.S. history.

Data breach and identity theft reached a record-high in 2014, according to a report. The number of tracked data breaches in the U.S. last year reached 783 or a 27.5 increase from the 2013 data.

The medical/healthcare industry had the most number of incidents or 42.5%, followed by the business sector with 33 percent and government/military industry with 11.7 percent. Data breach in education sector was at 7.3 percent while banking/credit/financial industry recorded breaches were at 5.5 percent.

Hacking incidents were the main cause of data breach incidents. Others were attributed to involvement of subcontractor or third-party and accidental exposure of information.

A separate report also dubbed 2014 as the year of mega breaches and identity theft. The extent of recorded data breach as follows:

  • Records breached – 1,023,108,267
  • Number of breach incidents – 1,541
  • Breached records increase from last year – 78%

The report also noted that in 2014, some 2,803,036 data records were stolen or lost every day, 116,793 every hour, 1,947 every minute and 32 every second.

Security incidents resulting to data breaches were also caused by web app attacks.

According to security company Vaadata, a corporation specializing in digital security for websites, mobile apps and SaaS software, majority of data breaches carried out by activists either for political or ideological reasons were done through web app attacks. A moderate number or 22% of breaches were performed by unaffiliated attackers, 20% were fulfilled for organized crime and 3% for state-affiliated entities.

Medical identity theft is also a growing concern. The health and medical industry becomes a more vulnerable and attractive target for cybercriminals due to the growing popularity of wearable technology.

A report by Experian.com notes that employees and negligence of insiders will be the biggest security threats. If companies will continue to neglect the fact that employees pose great risks when it comes to security, they will miss the mark in fighting the root cause of most security breaches.

Despite the alarming trends in data breaches, it is also notable that more companies have adopted cyber insurance as part of their security preparedness plan. In the past year, the adoption rate for cyber insurance was pegged at 26% or more than double compared to previous years.

Data breach and identity theft can be costly especially if people’s names, birthdates and significant identification information like Social Security numbers are exposed.

Incident of data breach places a company or an organization’s reputation on the line. According to a study, it will take a minimum of 10 months to more than two years to restore a company’s reputation following a breach of customer data.

With regards to the federal government data breach, we have yet to monitor the developments and how the potentially damaging incident will be addressed.

Image: Cybersecurity from Flickr.com. Some rights reserved.

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Highlights from the Google I/O Conference

Highlights from the Google I/O Conference
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Google’s annual software developer-focused I/O Conference concluded in San Francisco this week with so many exciting announcements and Easter eggs to look forward to. Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group certainly got busy this past few months.

Highlights from the Google I/O Conference

Here are some of the conference highlights:

Google Photos

There’s a new home for all your photo collection — Google Photos. This photo hosting service will find, manage, organize, edit and share your photos. It has unlimited free storage for high quality images and HD videos. This feature, previously integrated with Google+ is now a standalone service with the following features — photo editing, photo filters, auto-upload, auto-awesome (a GIF maker). The best thing about Google Photos? It’s totally free and you can use it even if you don’t have a Google+ account.

Google Cardboard

Google playfully named its new virtual reality (VR) viewer Cardboard (based on the cardboard/paper binoculars we used to play with as kids). It was named as such because of Google’s objective of making virtual reality accessible to everyone.

David Coz and his team developed Google Cardboard, the service that will bring virtual reality into classrooms.

During the conference, Google demonstrated Expeditions, a VR guided tour that uses Google Cardboard. The project was a result of Google experimentation and collaboration with over a thousand students from different grade levels from over 100 classes in several countries.

Cardboard can launch VR simulations and experiences from your smartphone. View Google Earth, try out guided tours and exhibits, watch videos and create interactive stories. A viewer is needed to fully enjoy and experience Google Cardboard.

Project Jacquard

This fashion/function-focused Google project will take wearables to the next level (almost sci-fi movie level).

In partnership with iconic jeans and clothing company Levi’s, Google wants to enable clothes with touch interface that can control your other devices by adding smart features to the clothes.

Google’s ATAP team wants to seamlessy embed miniature circuits and conductive strands or fibres to fabric that will act as sensors. Now, who needs a space suit if your Google-powered jeans are AI-enabled?

This technological innovation will definitely change the future of mobile and wearable computing.

Project Vault

In a previous article, I wrote about Google’s physical USB used for two-step authentication and log-in for Google services.

Now, Google announced Project Vault, an ultra microSD card for your mobile devices. It combines cryptographic tools and security-centric real-time operating system on the micro memory stick to guard and secure data while you access it. Explained in simple terms, Project Vault literally puts a secure, encrypted computer inside a microSD card.

Project Vault looks like a simple memory card when plugged into a compatible mobile device or PC. But this small chip is actually a device that runs on a custom ARM processor and has a 4GB of secure storage space.

Project Abacus

Google wants to do away with passwords, passphrases and patterns to access mobile devices. It wants to make the owner and user of the mobile device as the password itself.

Project Abacus is a smart and secure authentication system that can analyse the usage patterns of mobile device users — typing, swiping, preferred apps and other factors that can determine the identity of the user.

It will also make use of biometrics such as voice and face detection to authenticate and identify the user’s identity. This intelligent feature can also determine two separate users based on their usage patterns. If this Google innovation will actually make it to the consumer electronics market, we have yet to know.

Android M

Android M is Google’s latest update to the Android mobile operating system. Based on the presentation of Sundar Pichai, Google executive vice president for products, the Android M will provide significant and long-term improvements to the OS.

Watch out for more details about the Android M in our future articles. ###

Images Google and Google logo from Pixabay.com. Some rights reserved.

 

 

 

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