The Only Thing Instagram Stories Killed for Me is… Instagram

Instagram stories, Snapchat, yada yada. So much has been said about Zuck’s repetitive and systematic ripping off of Snapchat so I will not be adding to that echo chamber. Before I talk about how the launch of Instagram Stories affected my personal usage of both platforms, I would like to talk a little bit about the phenomenon of copying. It sucks. No, really. Speaking as someone who has been plagiarized and blatantly copied, it royally bites.

 

What is the iTech Show and Why is Microsoft Israel R&D Sponsoring it?

It’s been a while, I find myself spending more and more time on platforms like Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube, and less time blogging. It’s a sore topic, so don’t get me started. I will just say this. I wouldn’t say blogging has been replaced and I most definitely intend on continuing to write here since everything good that has happened to me professionally happened because of this blog, but… I will say that storytelling, as in letting people really get to know you as a person or as a company, is a whole lot easier on these other platforms than it is via blogging.

 

4 Ways Huawei Will Change the Way You Think About Technology

huawei-logo-technology

The older we get, the more set in our ways we become. Or maybe that’s just me.

I’ve been a tech-lover for as long as I can remember. The tech milestones we’ve all celebrated on social media are permanently etched on my brain. (remember Google Glass?)

But being set in your ways doesn’t just apply to your favorite Starbucks drink and whether you like your toilet paper to hang over or under.

It also applies to tech (and how you use it).

Today I’d like to share 4 ways Huawei changed the way I think about tech – and how that affects my life.

Before I get into the nitty-gritty details, I’d like to take a moment for full disclosure.

I was invited to a VIP tour of Huawei Technologies in Shenzhen last month. I accepted. As a result, I experienced a week’s worth of tech fantasies that would make any geek drool.

For me, visiting Huawei Technologies was like visiting Disney World.

Huawei asked me to share my thoughts with the world. These are my own words based on my own experience. This is not a sponsored article. This is all me!

Now that we got that out of the way…

I know it’s rare to get an inside look at Huawei, and how the company does business.

inside-huawei-offices-shenzhen

(I took this pic inside the offices on the Huawei campus in Shenzhen)

I toured the headquarters. I attended a slew of executive briefings. I spoke with many employees. I visited the manufacturing center. It was all very open and inviting.

I stood in an air-conditioned server room that purred like a kitten. I learned about the future of IoT. And I played with some insanely cool video conferencing and surveillance tech.

Like I said… it was like Disney World for a tech-lover like me.

huawei-video-conferencing-tech

(@2morrowknight, @tomfgoodwin@24K, @petershankman, and me)

I came away from it all with a different view of the company than I had before.

I could write for days about my experiences there, but for this post, let’s focus on the tech.

I’m talking about the juicy, mouth-watering, innovative, forward-thinking tech that we all love.

4 Ways Huawei Will Change the Way You Think About Technology

(Click to Tweet)

1. New ICT (information and communications technology)

Stop for a moment and imagine what it would be like if everyone in the world could connect to each other.

A better connected world means more opportunities, faster growing economies and a better life for all.

Innovative ICT affects every aspect of our lives. Imagine an entirely new ICT ecosystem. Imagine a life that seems like a scene out of a futuristic movie.

Huawei is on a mission to make that a reality. How?

By focusing on:

  1. Broadband Infrastructure
  2. Advancements in Cloud Tech
  3. IoT
  4. Big Data Analytics
  5. Data Centers

Digital technology is shaping our future – which is quickly becoming our now.

These new developments will affect all of us, regardless of what industry we’re in.

The applications in our everyday lives are endless.

For example, we could build safer cities. As we all know, public safety is more of an issue now than ever before.

According to Huawei:

Cities today need effective public safety solutions for incident prevention, emergency response, and evidence collection.

See it in action here –

– We could also use this tech to help protect natural resources.

– Use emerging IoT tech and open cloud platforms to develop, grow and maintain reliable energy. Imagine distributing electricity to anyone, anywhere at any time.

– Make much-needed upgrades in the education, banking and medical industries. (and create specialized solutions for countless other verticals)

– Big businesses could become more agile and able to respond quickly to change. It would make it easier to perform like a fast, lean startup rather than a slow-moving giant.

I could go on and on.

Our world is changing rapidly, and there is nothing that gets me more excited about the possibilities than ICT.

Read more about this by downloading this PDF – Huawei ICT Insights (issue 17)

2. 5G Technology

Holy Batman! Ready or not, here it comes.

I live in the United States. We have some of the best 4G networks in the world, which is a good and bad thing.

It’s good because we can access what we want, when we want, wherever we want. There are no restrictions and very few delays.

It’s bad because that digital luxury is turning us into spoiled brats when it comes to connectivity.

Many of us even have backup connections in the rare case that our primary connection fails.

When it comes to our Internet connection, we don’t mess around.

So as an American, learning about 5G technology at Huawei made me feel like a kid on Christmas morning.

Obviously Huawei is not the only company working on and testing 5G technology. Verizon, AT&T and many other tech giants are exploring this tech too.

Huawei has invested heavily in 5G, and their vision for how it will enhance our lives is inspiring.

5g-huawei-p9-phone

What is 5G?

Think about all the devices that are connected to the Internet (between 6 and 7 billion).

You think that’s a lot? It isn’t. 99% of machines in the world today are not connected. But that’s changing fast.

Think about this from an IoT perspective. According to CNBC, there will be around 21 billion connected devices by 2020.

Okay, that’s insane.

How is our existing 4G network going to increase speed (which we want) while still being able to manage all those connected devices?

That’s where 5G comes in.

5G is the 5th generation of mobile technology.

How will this affect your life?

Imagine your Internet speed increasing by about 50%.

Sound good?

You’ll be able to download a whole movie faster than most web pages load today.

And what about 5G-enabled driverless cars? Yep, those fit into the equation too.

According to Huawei:

The combination of holographic imaging, augmented reality, driverless cars, smart factory, intelligent agriculture, smart logistics along with 5G’s ultra-high throughput, ultra-low latency and massive connections will stimulate an astonishing transformation of the way we live our lives, and even inspire the creation of new business models and industries.

Back in May, Huawei completed the first phase of key 5G technology tests as part of a series of field trials.

My question is, won’t our demand increase with 5G?

Won’t we want more resolution, more pixels, more augmented/virtual reality and more data in everything?

And what about global standardization?

Not to mention, building a 5G infrastructure seems like a daunting task.

We’ll see how it all plays out. I can’t wait!

As Huawei puts it, 5G will lead the human race into the era of “everything on mobile.

Just think, kids born today will never know what it’s like to wait for a video to buffer. That’s nuts!

According to Huawei’s rotating CEO Guo Ping, there are some things we should do before 5G arrives. You can read that interview here.

If you’d like, you can also download Huawei’s white paper on 5G security.
huawei-5g-technology-quote

For now, we’ll just have to be happy with 4.5G technology which is coming this year!

3. GCI (Global Connectivity Index)

One thing I’ve written about a few times is how Huawei taught me to think more globally.

For me, life is technology and vice versa. You can’t have one without the other.

When I think about life, work, love and our existence from that perspective – I quickly realize that we can’t leave anyone behind.

And when I say “anyone” – I mean developing countries.

I believe everyone on our planet has a right to connect to the Internet.

We all deserve the gift of connectivity and the opportunity to build relationships as a result.

But not all countries are progressing at the same rate.

That’s where the Global Connectivity Index becomes relevant.

In a nutshell, my friend Julia and her team at Huawei devote much of their time to collecting intense data from around the world.

They then use this data and analytics to compile a report that explains how we are all progressing globally in this digital era.

I wrote about the Global Connectivity Index in detail last week. You can learn more by clicking over to that post at Global Connectivity and the Digital Economy: A Comparative Analysis.

You can also download and read the 94 page 2016 Global Connectivity Index Report for yourself.

See where your country ranks by clicking over to their interactive Global Connectivity site.

Here is the breakdown:

huawei global connectivity index ranking

I know what you’re thinking, and I agree. It’s fascinating to view your own country from a global connectivity perspective!

4. Huawei P9 Phone

True. You don’t have to travel all the way to China to experience the P9 – but it’s still definitely worthy of being in my top 4.

When I arrived at my hotel in Hong Kong, the concierge handed me a pretty P9, all set for unboxing.

Huawei is the world’s 3rd largest smartphone manufacturer. (Huawei bumped Microsoft out of that spot last summer)

And now I understand why.

There are a lot of people in China – and just like here in America, almost all of them have a phone in their pockets.

It makes sense that Huawei would produce an irresistible phone, and they’ve done it with the P9.

I’m typically an iOS girl, but I haven’t been able to put my P9 since I received it.

This blog post is not a P9 phone review, but the awesomeness of the camera cannot be understated.

Let me explain.

The P9 has a dual camera system (co-engineered with Leica).

For someone like me who doesn’t own any fancy camera equipment, it feels like I’m carrying around a DSLR lens.

The way the dual camera works is simple. For every pic you snap, the camera takes 2 pictures – 1 is color and the other is black and white.

These 2 pictures are then layered on top of each other to enhance the contrast and light.

The result is the best smartphone pic you’ve ever taken. Seriously. If you get your hands on this phone, try it. You’ll never use Instagram filters again.

The P9 allows you to be as much in control of your phone’s camera features as you’d like.

In other words, it allows you to have professional control, but only if you want it. With one tap you can control the aperture and other settings.

It also allows you to control the focus and depth of field of the photo after it’s taken.

This is one of the first pictures I took with the P9 – and that was before I learned about any of the features. I l-o-v-e this camera!

huawei-p9-phone-camera

no filter, no Photoshop, no adjustments and no skills. 🙂

huawei-campus-shenzhen-china

again…no filter, no Photoshop, no adjustments and no skills. 🙂

If you want to read about all the technical specs on the P9 camera, just click over to How to Use the Huawei P9’s Superb Dual-Lens Camera.

cipher-at-huawei-technologies

(This is Cipher. He works at Huawei, and he taught me all about the P9.)

Final Thoughts

Before I visited the Huawei campus in Shenzhen last month, I had a completely different opinion of the company.

It was a subtle reminder that you can’t always believe what you hear. And sometimes, you just have to see it for yourself.

I feel blessed that I was given that opportunity.

Thank you, Huawei for all the innovation and inspiration. Technology will pave the road for the future of humanity.

It’s a great time to be alive!

If you’d like to continue the conversation, tweet me at @adamsconsulting.

Thank you for reading my article!

 

The Next 50 People to Follow on Snapchat for Some Ridiculously Great Snaps

It is time! By now, I have upped my Snapchat game… We have all upped our Snapchat game! Snapchat right now has so much in common with the early days of Twitter, it’s ridiculous! There is the active community that is in love with the platform, and then there is the normal folks who “Just don’t get it.” But they will!

 

50 Consistently Interesting People to Follow on Snapchat

If you haven’t heard about Snapchat by now, I have one question for you, that rock you’ve been living under, is it comfy? No, but seriously, what is happening right now with Snapchat is a combination of Facebook is 2009 and Twitter 2007. In other words, it is all anyone will talk about.

 

Anonymous: Hacktivist Heroes, or Bandits?

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Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you have for sure heard of the operations carried out by the hacktivist collective known as Anonymous time and time again in recent years. They are they ones that have taken down thousands of ISIS-related Twitter accounts. They also received press for acts such as threatening to expose the names of thousands of KKK members; taking on NSA over censorship of free press; hacking government sites that don’t support LGBT rights, and more. On smaller scales, they have been known to use their Internet wizardry to combat police coverups; track child predators; and find evidence to support victims of assault cases. Pretty impressive stuff, right? But who are they?

 

The Complex Web of Anonymous

 

Anonymous is an amorphous group of hacktivists (hacker + activists.) As far as my understanding, they are mostly based in the US, and they make great use of the freedom of speech and accessibility of information in the public domain. They are not a static group of people. They are not an organization that would meet every week to discuss what their next mission would be. They seem to have a constant rotation of members coming and leaving. Members of Anonymous are particularly difficult to track because everyone is considered an equal, and there is no hierarchy. They constantly shift and change things up from within.
For the most part, Anonymous feeds off of ideas and concepts for the greater good. Here is an overly simplified description of how they work:

 

  1. A member notices that something wrong is going on
  2. Other members check to see if the problem can be fixed using the Internet
  3. An operation leader steps up, gathers troops, and organizes the operation
  4. Maybe create a video detailing the cause and outlining the plan of attack
  5. FIRE!
  6. They maybe organize a protest or two
  7. Members disband from the operation and never talk about it again.

Some of the members might join forces for other operations. Others might just leave. The amorphous nature of it all is pretty fascinating. Are you wondering if they can be stopped? Don’t bother, the answer is no. Authorities have busted members a few times here and there, and those members were quickly replaced by several more.

Characteristics of Anonymous

According to Brian Kelly, there are three characteristics that tie-in with Anonymous:

  • An unrelenting moral stance on issues and rights, regardless of direct provocation
    (Makes sense, because they usually fight against large groups for the greater good)
  • A physical presence that accompanies online hacking activity
    (They go out and talk about their missions with their videos, social updates, newsletter, protests, etc.)
  • A distinctive brand
    (Their use of the Guy Fawkes mask is no joke. The logo with the question mark, suit, and tie- woah. And their tagline is so creepy: “We are Anonymous, We are legion, We don’t forgive. We don’t forget. United as one. Divided by zero. Expect us.”)

I guess most of us don’t have to worry about being attacked by Anonymous. We can sit back, grab some popcorn, and enjoy the show. But if you’re doing something wrong- some kind of injustice using the Internet- THEIR INTERNET…. oh Mister… as Stephen Colbert once said, you’re “sticking your penis in a hornets nest.”

And by the way, they are generally good to the media. They love being in the press. They love being in the headlines. That’s because they proudly stand behind all that they do, and want everyone to know that they are doing it.

GP_anonymous_logo

 

The Origins of Anonymous

 

Anonymous is typically known to replace parts of websites, or disable them completely. They generally take on immoral corporate giants and other strong forces. And they had a pretty interesting start. Lots of people view them as trolls who are entertaining themselves at the expense of others, but that’s not quite it. They know that the Internet is a powerful tool, and they use it for moral crusades.

 

The way they started was on 4chan, which was created in 2003. 4chan is a website that is totally sensor free and anonymous, where no one in charge. People can post what they want to post, say what they want to say, and see how far they can push buttons. Not quite the best place for sensitive people. Anyway, 4chan quickly attracted “netizens.” People started congregating on different boards, and found that they all shared a desire to mess with bad people. Anonymous kind of evolved out of that. They were people wanting to take things up a notch and actually do good.

 

Well I guess I have to backtrack for a second. Their efforts started as mindless fun, and expanded onto something more. So yes, they were screwing with people first, and the goodwill came after. There is an interesting account of them messing with a racist radio host named Hal Turner. Hal got pranked by 4chan members because of his remarks, and he decided to investigate and get the data of those people. He then published the data on his site to have his fans track down the prankers, most of which were underage. That didn’t stop him from posting their addresses online. The 4chan community told Hal take it down. He said no. Then the troops assembled and got him good. Hal was soon off the air, and imprisoned. His tactic was used against him. People in that sect of 4chan then realized that they did something good there, by getting a racist person off the air. That was when they decided to continue going on that path. As long as there was a good moral dimension to what they did, they determined their actions were good.

 

Operations and Shenanigans

 

Anonymous raised hell for leaders of the Church of Scientology. That was because they didn’t like how the leaders were trying to remove certain videos from the Internet. Anonymous attacked their website, and took most everything pertaining to Scientology off the Internet. Anonymous even went as far as doing a Google bomb for Scientology, where if you were to type “Dangerous Cult” Scientology would appear as a result. Anonymous also did a series of harmless, but intense pranks against the leaders, such as having hundreds of pizzas delivered to Scientology offices, and sending jet black faxes to them, so they would run out of ink. The leaders of Scientology had enough, and went to the FBI about it.

 

As part of “Operation Paypack,” Anonymous took down giants such as Visa, Mastercard, and Paypal for putting an end to donations on Wikileaks. It ended up costing Paypal over $5.5M to get out of that pickle. The bottom line is that Anonymous views themselves as the Internet Police. The Internet is not to be messed with. Hal Turner posted sensitive info of underage kids- wrong move. Scientology leaders tried to sensor the Internet- wrong move. Visa, Mastercard, and Paypal giving Wikileaks drama- wrong move.

Anonymous can’t stand hypocrisy. They don’t like it when the US Government practices what they say is illegal for others to do. The government has repeatedly done DDoS attacks and shut down sites. When regular people did so, they were prosecuted. This was especially the case when people would use software for such attacks, but it was always totally okay for the government to it, and Anonymous did NOT like that. Despite being harshly punished by the US government (10 years in prison,) DDoS attacks are viewed as “virtual sit-ins” by Anonymous. I guess it goes without saying what they did to different US government sites to teach them a lesson, haha.

There was one point they even overthrew the Egyptian government. Mubarak had shut off the Internet in Egypt, which was a major no-no. Anonymous instructed people on how to get the Internet back by setting up virtual networks that cannot be shut down by the government. They even went as far as helping people send out tweets. Same in Tunisia. And China. And many more countries.

On a smaller scale, Anonymous assisted citizens in a series of high-profile cold cases, coverups, and police brutality cases. They also launched crusades to uncover truths behind assaults, and reported their findings to authorities accordingly.

The YouTube videos by Anonymous are the perfect mix of creepy, fascinating, and enlightening. They do a great job in branding themselves. In most cases, they say what is happening, and what is going to go down. This keeps them from being scapegoated, and also stops others from claiming their work. Here’s a vid of Anonymous sending a message to Kanye West, which went crazy viral when it came out.

 

It takes a lot of work to become a member of Anonymous, it’s not a matter of just filling out a form and joining. You need to prove your worth with ideas or skillsets. You will later be invited to participate to become an Anon. They will call on you if you have other skills they can tap into. You can write web copy for them, help with videos- and contribute to Anonymous in many other ways without being a coder. Interestingly enough, only about a fifth of their members are actual hackers. The majority of them are protestors. Even though they don’t have a hierarchy, they do have a few people who take initiatives on certain operations. I guess it comes down to how organized and efficient they are.

 

So what are your thoughts on Anonymous? Are they heroes, or bandits? They aren’t digitally stealing money, so they are not after financial gain. They are just exposing people doing bad things. Of course, there are some members who may go astray. All groups have a few bad apples. But the ones that get the most press are the good ones. There are also repercussions to all the actions taken by Anonymous in the real world after all is said and done. There are always cases of people getting treated unfairly, post-operations. There are indeed immoral dimensions to Anonymous’ moral actions as innocent people become casualties in their crusades. I’d say that’s the darkest spot in their efforts.

 

I personally side with them in most of their operations. I’m all for social justices being made, especially when higher authorities decide to take the backseat. The tech aspect of it all is just so awesome. Tech superheroes for the win!
 

8 Peculiar Types of People/Behavior You Will Only Encounter on the Social Web

We have all experienced it. Someone does something on Facebook or Twitter and you find yourself thinking “Who does that?!”

 

Five Things to Ensure Before Asking Someone to Like your Page or Promote your Content

I don’t blog nearly enough. Between Twitter, Facebook, meetings, work, family, and the rest of life, blogging seems to have taken a back seat and I hate that. I would like to say this post will change that and I will go back to writing as often as I used to, but unfortunately, I don’t know if that is going to happen. I promise I will try.

 

The Beauty of Pebble Classic and Pebble Time

I have been using my Apple Watch pretty heavily since I purchased it soon after it came out. It took a little bit of getting used to, but I loved it from the get go. That reminded me of how much I loved my very first smart watch, the Pebble Classic. I previously wrote about how I found the Pebble Classic to be a total game-changer, and as you can see now- it was indeed.

 

An Interview with Emmanuelle Chriqui; Actress, Philanthropist, and Star of the Show/Movie ‘Entourage’

It has been a while since I have last interviewed someone who inspired me. You see, I am a big believer in learning from amazing people and I decided long ago that interviewing some amazing folks would be the best way to accomplish that. Except how does a simple guy like myself get to interview legendary human beings like Woz, Marc Andreessen, and all the other epic people I’ve interviewed? Social media, of course.

 

A Total Newbie’s Thoughts on the Parrot Bebop Drone. Spoiler: Holy Freakin Cow!

Rewind a few weeks back, and I am sitting with a friend who is building a startup that involves drones. Drones were something I always knew would appeal to me and my geeky side, but never really considered buying one, until that day.