Android Circuit: New Pixel 2 Details Leak, Galaxy Note 8 Launch Date, Microsoft’s Android Ambition

Numerous reports have emerged in the past five years about a decline in petty violent crime such as muggings, pickpocketing, and even good, old-fashioned armed robbery while simultaneously witnessing a rise in cybercrime, or felonies committed over the Internet. As a result of the World Wide Web becoming the 21st century version of Central Park after midnight, increased security protocols have been invented and initiated. One of the most reliable and frequently used is the Virtual Private Network.

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a network technology that creates a secure network connection over a public network such as the Internet or a private network owned by a service provider. Large corporations, educational institutions, and government agencies use VPN technology to enable remote users to securely connect to a private network.

To be granted access to this private network, the user must have authentication granted through the use of a unique personal ID and password. For additional security, an authentication token is frequently used for access to the private network via a personal identification number (or PIN) which is entered by the user. The PIN is a one-time generated code that changes according to a programmed frequency, usually in 30 second intervals.

There are a number of VPN protocols in use that secure the transport of data traffic over a public network infrastructure. Each protocol varies slightly in the way that data is kept secure.

VPN technology employs sophisticated encryption to ensure security and prevent any unintentional interception of data between private sites. All traffic over a VPN is encrypted using algorithms to secure data integrity and privacy. VPN architecture is governed by a strict set of rules and standards to ensure a private communication channel between sites. Corporate network administrators are responsible for deciding the scope of a VPN, implementing and deploying a VPN, and ongoing monitoring of network traffic across the network firewall. A VPN requires administrators to be continually aware of the overall architecture and scope of the VPN to ensure communications are kept private.

A VPN is an inexpensive effective way of building a private network. The use of the Internet as the main communications channel between sites is a cost effective alternative to expensive leased private lines. These costs, to both corporations and individuals, include the network authentication hardware and software used to authenticate users and any additional mechanisms such as authentication tokens or other secure devices. The relative ease, speed, and flexibility of VPN provisioning in comparison to leased lines makes VPNs an ideal choice for businesses or individuals who require flexibility. For example, an individual can adjust the number of sites in the VPN according to changing requirements.

GoPro’s Fusion could make 360 video cool, if it nails the software

I hate the phone. Let me just put that right out there. Oh sure, I call my sisters and girlfriends to chat, usually when I’m driving or cruising the grocery store aisles. I like a good old catch-up convo as much as the next gal. But when expediency is called for, the phone can suck time like a black hole.

Set aside my skepticism at clutching a mobile device to our brains or the loony appearance of those blinking Vulcan blue earpieces. What I hate about the phone when conducting business is the socially required chitchat, the lubrication, the “how are the kids” banter that doesn’t allow for cutting to the chase. Wasn’t this precisely why Al Gore created the Internet — so we could all be more efficient?

But lately it seems that even email is failing me. I’m drowning in the sheer volume, suffocating in the volleys. Some conversations and decisions seem to require so many back and forths, so much cc-ing and reply-all-ing, that my knickers are twisted. We are a society of over- communicators. We text while we paint our toenails, we tweet while we’re getting frisky. We feel a sense of rising panic if we haven’t responded to someone in 24 hours.

Good old-fashioned email can plunge you into hot water, if you’re not careful. The written word lacks tone or inflection; there’s no indication that you are joshing (other than that silly smiley face symbol). Even a well-intentioned breezy missive can sound like you are dead serious, and a serious email can read as if a razor is poised at your wrist.

Oops. It seems I’ve just offended someone with my sloppily dashed email. But OMG, WTF? I’d used LOL, added a smiley face and plenty of exclamation marks to lighten it all up. Sigh. More time spent on clarification, apologies and back-pedaling. Now a phone call to hear our voices, palpate the hurt, define the intentions and un-do the damage. And finally, are we good? We’re good. Ok. Thumbs up. We like each other on Facebook again.

Suddenly I’m nostalgic for my old phone with the black cord, the one I pulled into my childhood bedroom to whisper about cute boys. A phone call back then had weight, carried a certain importance. It was almost the equivalent of today’s handwritten letter, as quaint as composing your Santa list from the Sears & Roebuck catalogue.

One of my favorite Nora Ephron essays is “The Six Stages of E-Mail.” In the first stage she describes her excitement and infatuation at the new method of communication. This gives way to her confusion over excessive spam for retail and personal growth opportunities like penis enlargement. Note — my husband once changed his email address for this reason and let’s not go into the understandable insecurities this can breed when you’re a male recipient. In the next stage, Ephron is overwhelmed by her email and finally the last section is simply entitled “Call Me.”

How Tumblr reconciles political activism with business

No matter what country you live in or how old you are, one thing is abundantly clear: We’re in the middle of a mobile revolution that is changing the way we shop, travel and manage our finances.

Mobile is also presenting Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) with new platforms to connect with customers as individuals. Marketing as we know it, geared to demographic segments, is being replaced by the “era of you.”

Just as the Internet shifted the way we shop, mobile computing is revolutionizing how businesses are reaching out to customers. The explosion of mobile, social networks, and location-based services are providing millions of clues as to what consumers crave. People are leaving digital breadcrumbs as they communicate with brands, compare prices and post opinions about their latest purchases.

While mobile computing is becoming the darling of marketers, its explosive growth rate is rather daunting, with more customers shopping via mobile devices every day. Forrester Research anticipates mobile commerce will exceed $31 billion by 2016. And by 2020 there will be 10 billion-plus devices in the pockets and palms of consumers.

But it’s a mistake for marketers to get caught up in the hype just around devices, because that’s only part of the picture. Over the next three to five years, the most radical advances in mobile computing will have next to nothing to do with devices — and everything to do with what marketers decide to do with them.

The beauty of mobile computing is that CMOs can reinvent digital commerce for consumers. This doesn’t mean replicating a PC browser experience for a smaller screen and then expecting it to miraculously drive transactions and bolster customer loyalty. Marketers need to step back, be creative and design a mobile environment that enables consumers to connect with the brand.

ING Direct wanted to grow its mobile banking business by appealing to social media-loving millennial consumers. The bank developed an app with a feature called “Small Sacrifices,” where consumers can link their savings progress to their social feeds. If someone decides to skip any purchase, they can click on the app, enter the amount saved, and transfer the amount to their savings account. The savings can be posted to their Facebook or Twitter account and proudly be shared with family and friends.

7 Reasons To Banish Your Phone From The Bedroom

You know your smartphone addiction has reached an entirely new level of unhealthy when you can’t hit the pillow at night without it beside you.

As if it isn’t problematic enough to leave your devices charging in the bedroom overnight, a survey conducted by YouGov and The Huffington Post last fall found that 63 percent of smartphone users between the ages of 18 and 29 actually sleep with their phones or tablets in their beds.

In recent years, scientists have discovered that our chronic sleep deprivation is linked to these devices being allowed in our sleep space. A study published in the journal Nature last summer by Harvard Medical School professor Dr. Charles A. Czeisler, M.D., Ph.D., revealed how the artificial blue light emitted from electronic devices like cell phones, smartphones and tablets activates arousing neurons within the brain, preventing us from feeling sleepy. Plus: Remaining tethered to technology up until bedtime and keeping devices in our sleeping environments (leading to increased access) not only affects our ability to fall asleep, but the quality of the sleep we achieve by disrupting the body’s production of melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone.

While the blue light argument is a focal point in the tech-free bedroom movement, it’s not the only reason we benefit from leaving the bedroom a sanctuary reserved for sleep.

Confessions of a Self-Proclaimed Phone Addict

“Hey, can you turn down the volume on my phone?” I asked a coworker. It was hooked up to the overhead speakers, playing a Lionel Richie song from my iTunes library — you know, the one about being the sun and the rain. I had my hands full watching the kids in the pool, making sure they weren’t slapping each other with those foam noodles, which is more perilous than you’d imagine. My coworker complied. And then he dropped my phone.

I watched it happen. I watched him drop it like it was no big deal. He picked it up and looked at me sheepishly. Well, at least he dropped it on its back, I thought. Better than facedown, right? Who wants to screw up their face?

And then I recognized my train of thought for what it was: absurd. Unreasonable. Maybe even a bit disturbing.

It made me think about how much I care for my phone. It made me think of the delicate way I place it in my purse. It actually has its own separate pocket because I don’t want anything — loose change, wallet zipper, polky pen, stray earring — scratching it. And heaven forbid if something in there spilled on it, such as my Sinful Colors collection or (ampersand alert) Brisk Half & Half Iced Tea & Cherry Limeade. Cue a World War Z type of international meltdown.

It’s sad, really. Phones are not people. Phones are not even friends. Phones are … phones. But whatever the hell they are, they’re addicting.

Speaking of addiction, New York Magazine recently posted an article regarding the obsessive use of phones among the college demographic. Melissa Dahl opens with a zinger: “If a new study from Baylor University is to be believed, college women spend an incredible ten hours a day futzing around on their cell phones — and the guys aren’t far behind, losing eight hours each day the same way.” Damn, no beating around the bush.

Furthermore, according to a USA TODAY College article, this type of phone addiction involves real, negative effects that draw a lucid parallel to the symptoms of drug and alcohol addicts. Dr. James Roberts, a professor of marketing in Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business says that stress, anxiety, tension, depression and irritability are common outcomes when people surrender their phones — even for a couple of hours.

I called home and shared these golden nuggets of knowledge with the silver-haired man who raised a good, virtuous woman with a minor bad habit of spending 10 hours a day on her iPhone 5s. (And no, I’m not drooling over the 6. That’d be like giving up a child in exchange for a shinier one. What are you thinking?)

Xbox exec reveals Scorpio has 9GB of RAM available for games

You probably don’t remember me or my family. Your judgement of us was swift and matter-of-fact. “We will never let our kids zone out on electronics while we have a family meal,” you declared to your husband as you nodded in our direction. That was that. You would never allow your future, hypothetical children to be as inconsiderate and rude as mine. I’m sure you went on about your day without a second thought about the kid zoning out on the phone at brunch.

And, I get it. I do. I have said similar things in the past. Back when I also had future, hypothetical children. Back before I had present, real children. Back before I started to notice that one of those children was a little bit different than most kids his age. Back before the doctor mentioned the big, scary word that starts with an A. You see, it’s easy to make judgements when you are not really in the situation, because all you see is a kid zoning out on a phone. But that’s not what I see.

You see a kid ignoring all social interaction at the table. I see a kid who is doing a great job holding it together and not melting down.

You see a kid zoning out on a phone. I see a kid who this morning was spinning himself up in the curtains, as he so often does now, to avoid putting on his clothes. This kid likes to be naked. He finds clothes very uncomfortable and tight, even when they are two sizes too big. Wearing a soft cotton t-shirt can sometimes feel like wearing a straightjacket. So, while you see a kid zoning out, I see a kid with his clothes on.

You see a kid ignoring his family and playing games. I see a kid whose mom dragged him to a local park this morning for family pictures that he didn’t want to do. Getting ready for pictures, that kid found tall bench made of a tree branch that he could climb and jump off of again and again until those few intermittent seconds of free fall could help him forget about his tight shirt. But he couldn’t. He had to sit still, smile, and make eye contact, which is not very comfortable or exciting. But he did it. So, while you see a kid ignoring his parents, I see a kid who cooperated with family pictures for a whole hour.

You see a kid ignoring the food on his plate and watching videos. I see a kid who waited patiently for 30 minutes to be sat at a cramped table and wait for his food, only to be disappointed and unable to eat because the food on his plate was linked sausage and not sausage patties.