first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESurfer attacked by shark near Channel Islands calls rescue a ‘Christmas miracle’The demand to dispose of the menacing, possibly airborne creature was hardly unusual. The Los Angeles Police Department received 1.7 million calls last year through the 911 emergency system and 1.5 million more via its nonemergency numbers. This year, it already has logged more than 1.2 million on both, and the number will likely increase when it picks up cell phone calls from the California Highway Patrol in December. No specific statistics exist on the number of spurious calls, like the wayward spider, but Mealy said as many as 70 percent are non-life-threatening. They’re so frequent, dispatchers don’t even track the number of wasted calls. They come in at all hours of the day. Anonymous complaints about neighbors’ loud rap music or overly enthusiastic lovemaking. Parents angry at kids who won’t go to school or get off the phone. A rant about the poor quality of television programming these days. An embarrassing sexually transmitted disease. An inquiry for the phone number for Pizza Hut on Alvarado Street. The LAPD alone fields 6,000 to 8,000 calls daily at its center downtown and 3,000 more in West Hills. The Los Angeles Fire Department deploys units on roughly 2,000 incidents a day, but handles more calls than that. An hour without a nonsense call is cause for celebration. “The weight upon us is overwhelming,” said Brian Humphrey, a Fire Department spokesman. “Someone calls 911 and says, `I’ve got little green men coming out of my sink.’ Maybe they’ve got psychoses, maybe they’re a diabetic with low blood sugar. “We always respond with an abundance of caution, so five minutes after they hang up the phone, they’ve got a cadre of well-trained responders there to help them. Unfortunately, it’s the rest of the people of Los Angeles who then pay the price.” The LAPD takes the majority of 911 calls within the county, answering nearly 91 percent within its goal of 10 seconds. Currently, the CHP fields cell phone calls but will hand off most nonfreeway calls to the LAPD in coming months. Last year, when it still handled all of the county’s cell calls, it got 1.2 million, as many as 15 percent of which turned out to be not even vague emergencies. Cell phones also presented a unique challenge for the CHP stemming from the phenomenon known either as “phantom calls,” or “butt calls.” The latter involve a caller involuntarily dialing the emergency number by sitting on their phone’s keypad, leaving the operator listening to muffled noise. Prior to implementing a system requiring callers to press a button or acknowledge they intended to call 911, rumps and other accidental calls rang up 25 percent of the call volume. And even when it’s a different sort of rear-end on the line, the calls still don’t necessarily pass muster. Like the guy who wanted to know if the CHP had any Aston Martins in service so he could get an opinion before he bought one. Or the customer who hadn’t quite gotten it their way. “We had one where they were literally in a drive-through burger place and they’d gotten upset with the attendant,” said Capt. Steve Webb, commander of the CHP’s Los Angeles Communications Center. “They weren’t getting satisfaction with what they’d ordered, so they wanted us, the CHP, to intervene to make sure they got their milkshake and Double Whopper. And they’re very serious about this.” [email protected] (818) 713-3738 Who to call If you don’t have a life-threatening emergency, authorities encourage the use of these numbers instead of 911: 211: Health and Human Services. Callers can find information on clinics, jobs, employment and crisis counseling. It can also be accessed by dialing (800) 339-6993 or visiting 311: Los Angeles City Hall. Handles complaints on potholes, fallen trees, burned-out street lights. Also can refer callers to local fire or police stations. 877-ASK-LAPD: Nonemergency police contact number. 611: Telephone repair. 711: Relay service for deaf or hard of hearing. On cell phones, #399: Nonemergency motorist breakdown. If you’re blocking traffic on the freeway, however, you should still call 911. Sources: Los Angeles Fire Department and California Highway Patrol.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The call came in, answered deep inside the LAPD’s Communications Center. A breathless caller nervously spoke. An armed intruder – eight-armed, in fact – had invaded her home, and she needed the police to apply lethal force. A highly trained dispatcher fielded the call and determined the assailant was an arachnid. “No kidding, a spider,” said Lt. Chuck Mealy, the assistant commanding officer of the LAPD’s Communications Division. “The dispatcher’s asking, `Why don’t you kill it or chase it outside?’ She says, `It’s a big spider. It might be a flying spider.’ Eventually, we got the paramedics involved and they told her `We don’t come out on spiders. You’re going to have to find someone else to kill it for you.”‘ last_img
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first_imgThis is Web Office Week here at Read/WriteWeb, but some of you may not be 100% sure what a Web Office is. Even the Wikipedia definition is a bit bare bones, so in this post I’m going to take a crack at defining ‘Web Office’. What I ended up with is this: A Web Office suite is a combination of productivity, publishing and collaboration features. A Web Office both embraces the functionality of desktop office suites (e.g. Microsoft Office) and extends it by using Web Native features. But let’s start at the beginning. Wikipedia currently states that a Web Office “is a set of applications hosted on a server that enable users to create, edit and share information. It is a derivative of the Desktop Office Suite, but has more collaboration capabilities due to its Web nature.”It then lists a very broad set of applications that might be considered part of a Web Office – everything from word processing to blogs to CMS to wiki to email to CRM and accounting. I think this is too broad a definition – for example a CMS (content management system) is an office application, and it may be a part of a company Intranet, but we wouldn’t normally associate it with an office suite.Web Office vs Desktop OfficeI believe the key to defining a Web Office is to limit it to the type of productivity applications that you’d find in a suite like Microsoft Office. So a Web Office suite would be a set of tools that helps you be more productive in your daily office work, alone or as a group. Word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, email, calendar – these are the traditional apps found in an office suite, and they’re as relevant online as on the desktop. You could make a case for including wikis and blogs, which we’ll discuss below. But I don’t believe we should include apps like CMS or CRM in the definition of Web Office – because they are specialist apps (that have been around for years).Another important point is that a Web Office has different strengths (and weaknesses) than a desktop office suite like Microsoft Office. One of the main functions of a Web Office is to enhance collaboration and the ability to share files. Because the Internet enables you to store files on a server, and access the data from anywhere via the web browser, it’s more suited to collaboration than traditional desktop software. The classic use case is trying to collaborate on a Microsoft Word document – it tends to get emailed round the office and hosted in many places, making it difficult to collaborate. But with an online word processing program, you simply share the link and anyone can read and write the original copy in the browser (and these days, there is strong version control so that multiple people can edit it at once).Web Office Evolution: 2005, The Awakening Late 2005 was when the notion of a Web Office began to be discussed. In September 2005 I posted some thoughts on Read/WriteWeb about the “Web 2.0-style Office apps” that I’d noticed popping up during the year. Apps like Writely (which eventually became Google Docs), online spreadsheet NumSum (still chugging away) and online calendar Kiko (also still developing nicely). I noted back then that “Ajax seems to be a common denominator amongst a lot of them.” I ended the post by asking: was the development of this new kind of “Web 2.0” Office tool likely to be worrying Microsoft much at that stage? With the benefit of hindsight we can say that probably it wasn’t worrying Microsoft, because at that time Google weren’t in the game – except for Gmail. Indeed even approaching September 2007, with Google Apps in full flow, Microsoft doesn’t seem particularly concerned about the threat of Web Office! Later in September 2005 I wrote an article for ZDNet called The Web-based Office will have its day. At that point VC Peter Rip had noticed there was “an alpha or beta Web-incarnation for every Microsoft desktop product” – mostly Ajax, but also some Flash. This is around the time that some of us began to posit the notion of a Web Office suite of such tools. What I wrote back then still stands today I think: “…long-term, the writing is on the wall for desktop office applications. Once the current crop of alpha and beta web-based office products reach a level of maturity, they will be ready to challenge Microsoft for the minds and pockets of consumers. One of the keys is achieving the level of functionality that Microsoft Office undeniably has. But there are also issues of online security and reliability that web-based apps will need to address, in time. Office apps are just too important to corporate productivity for CIOs and IT managers to entrust their businesses with web-based apps, without complete confidence in their functionality (ability to do the job efficiently) and performance (security and uptime).The time for the web-based office will come, mark my words. When broadband is ubiquitous, web functionality is richer, issues of security and reliability have been put to rest, and most importantly of all – when Corporates are ready to make the jump. It may be 5-10 years down the track, it may be longer.” September/October 2005 seemed to be the turning point for Web Office. For example on October 2, 2005, Techcrunch posted a review of Zoho Writer – which had launched 15 September 2005. Michael Arrington described Zoho Writer then as “Word + Group Editing + Ajax”, which was a very apt description. Interesting to note that Jason Fried from 37Signals blasted the review in the comments, saying that Zoho Writer was “a total rip of Backpack”. Whatever the validity of that claim in Oct ’05, Zoho has grown to be one of the leading and most innovative Web Office suites since then.Web Office Evolution: 2006 By 2006 Google was well in the Web Office game – having acquired Writely in March and released Calendar in April. The definition of Web Office was progressing too; in March 2006 I interviewed JotSpot CEO Joe Kraus about how his app, a wiki/spreadsheet amalgam, would take on parts of Microsoft Office [Note that JotSpot was eventually acquired by Google at the end of October 2006, but that was well after this conversation]. Joe Kraus told me in March ’06 that the aim for JotSpot Tracker, their online spreadsheet product, was to “embrace and extend Excel”. He said: “So we believe where Tracker is headed is not only to embrace the capabilities of Excel – you‚Äôve got to do that. But you‚Äôve also got to extend it beyond what Excel is currently envisioned as today, in order to provide lasting value. Because otherwise I think you‚Äôre going to get your lunch eaten, over time as Microsoft rolls in.”I’d encourage you to read that whole post from March 2006, because it encapsulates a lot of the thinking behind Web Office at that time.In September 2006 Nicholas Carr wrote about the generations of office software: Office 1.0 (1980s): a set of discrete and often incompatible applications for word processing, spreadsheets, presentation creation, and simple database management. Archetype: Lotus 1-2-3.Office 2.0 (1990 – present): integrated suites of PPAs, with expanded, if still limited, collaboration capabilities. Archetype: Microsoft Office.Office 3.0 (present – early 2010s): hybrid desktop/web suites incorporating internet-based tools and interfaces to facilitate collaboration and web publishing.Office 4.0 (c. early 2010s): fully web-based suites. Carr made a similar point to Joe Kraus in March – that a Web Office had “to extend both functionality and interoperability without taking away any of the capabilities that users currently rely on or expect.” Or as I put it in a ZDNet column, “with new technology comes new functionality.” Web Native vs Desktop Software The term I used in 2005/06 and still use today to describe Web Office functionality is ‚ÄòWeb native‚Äô. It means that the next generation of office software will not necessarily be the same as the past PC-based generation (typified by Microsoft Office). The new generation will have Web native functionality such as collaboration and ‚Äòmashups‚Äô (whereby data is sourced and combined from a variety of internal and external sources).Which brings us to the point that currently a Web Office can be a combo of browser and desktop based. Zimbra and ThinkFree are two suites that take a hybrid approach. So while Google and Zoho use the browser as their platform, others such as Microsoft and Zimbra will take advantage of the desktop for as long as they can. As yet, Microsoft Office is predominantly a desktop software. They are slowly introducing Internet elements (SharePoint is their platform for collaboration), but Microsoft Office is very far from being a Web Native office suite. Zimbra, by contrast, is literally built using Web hooks and mashups – so they are a Web Office suite. As Nick Carr noted in his piece, the hybrid approach is still going strong now – but in 3-5 years the Web platform may be strong enough for even the likes of Zimbra and ThinkFree to be 100% online (i.e. in the browser or perhaps as an RIA, Rich Internet Application).Blogs and WikisThere was some thought over 2005/06 that blogs and wikis are in many ways the foundation of a Web Office. Rod Boothby said in February 2006 that blogs and wikis are the first major ‘office 2.0’ apps. In an excellent PDF, Rod also mentioned social networks and project collaboration software. The philosophy behind this, he noted in the PDF, is the ‘read/write web’. He wrote:“Web Office solutions are going to use this new philosophical approach (that the web should be both readable and writable) to redefine how knowledge workers share information.”This is another defining aspect of Web Office, that it enables better knowledge sharing in the office due to its read/write nature. ConclusionUltimately a Web Office suite is a combination of productivity, publishing and collaboration features. A Web Office both embraces the functionality of desktop office suites (e.g. Microsoft Office) and extends it by using Web Native features.In product terms, a Web Office is an online version of a traditional office suite along with some newer Web products such as blogs and wikis. What it’s not is a long list of specialist office products like CMS and CRM – those products have become more Web-enabled as time has gone on, but they are specialist products best left out of any definition of Web Office.I’m keen to get your thoughts on this definition and history in the comments below. Tags:#web#Web Office richard macmanus Related Posts center_img A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

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first_imgWhat it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Related Posts Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfacescenter_img marshall kirkpatrick Google announced this morning that Google Product Search is now tightly integrated with mobile search results on the iPhone and Android. The new interface should make it easier to find price comparisons and customer reviews while on the go. I’m not a big shopper but I have struggled while standing in stores to find product reviews on my phone for tennis racquets, vacuum cleaners and power tools within recent memory. Natural search results and Amazon listings only worked so well. Unfortunately, a lot of shopping searches I tried this morning didn’t have Product Search results. When they are available, they are pretty good though.The best thing about the new inclusion of Google Product Search may be its availability in Google Voice search as well. That’s handy, or hands-free as the case may be.Google Product Search is the new name, as of two years ago, for what used to be called Froogle. That product never gained much traction, but speaking as a likely user of this new feature – I hope it continues to improve. Tags:#mobile#Product Reviews#web last_img read more

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first_imgCloud: SmartThe Cloud is “an interactive speaker/lamp designed to mimic a thunderstorm in both sound and light. Functions include: streaming music via Bluetooth, music visualization, motion sensing & creating ambient light displays.” Think of it as a self-indulgent piece of interactive art. That makes the $3,360 price tag more palatable. Internet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You… At $700 for the juicer and  the requisite juice packs at $5 each, the local artisan bio-cafe is looking a lot more accessible. When did cutting an orange in half become too hard?The Control FreakThe mere name of this product makes me think of A-type personalities who use their kitchen more for storing take-out sushi chopsticks than actual food prep. Yes, The Control Freak is actually the name of this stove top, a collaboration between Breville and Polyscience, who assert:“It’s the first of its kind to accurately measure, set and hold 397 cooking temperatures from 86°-482°F. The unique real-time sensing system uses a through-glass sensor to directly measure surface temperature. Probe Control™ remote thermometer to precisely control the temperature of both water and fat-based liquids.”Once you’ve seen the magic you can do with an old battered wok over a flame, the price of $1,799.95 is laughable. Perhaps learning to cook with the stuff in your kitchen already is a better start.Has a product caught your eye or horrified your soul? Email us your own best and worst and my favorites will get a mention. Follow the Puck Tags:#best of#Bluetooth#breville#Connected Devices#connected home#Internet of Things#IoT#sleep problems#Sleep sensor#smart cooking#smart kitchens#weather#worst of Cate Lawrence Small Business Cybersecurity Threats and How to… Related Posts NoraWhen you’re from a family of chronic snorers and you’ve all spent time in sleep clinics to no avail, a product that not only aims to prevent snoring  but is also backed by sleep scientists is very appealing. Nora is a wireless device that detects the early sounds of snoring then gently moves your head by activating a padded insert in your pillow case. The insert is inflated and the movement treats the cause of snoring, the relaxed throat muscles, allowing the airway to clear and the breathing to continue. The $259 price is far cheaper than renting an apartment with a spare bedroom.…and the worstPeggyPeggy is a smart clothes peg bought to you by detergent-maker Omo. It measures temperature and humidity with a corresponding app that helps you decide when you dry your clothes outside. Note to Peggy users: Go outside. Just for a while. You probably won’t die.JuiceroCold-pressed juice has become smart thanks to Juicero. Juicing is no longer about chopping up some fresh fruit and extracting the juice. Instead you have to buynot only the juicer but also a subscription to space age-like single serve packages of diced fruit and vegetables which when added to the machine will give you one glass of juice. Where does the IoT come in? According to the website:“Connectivity is a key component of the Juicero system. Being connected to the internet ensures that you have the latest updates and that your Press is operating optimally. Once everything is synced, you’ll be able to rely on the app to see which Packs you’ve consumed and which ones still remain. To ensure you’re drinking the highest quality juice, the app will also notify you when Packs are about to expire.” In case that’s not enough to tempt you, “you’ll always know which nutrients you’re consuming and which farm grew each ingredient.” It’s a tech party and IoT is everywhere right now – loud, noisy and on the dance floor with a tie around its head.With so much energy in being devoted to tell us how, when, where, what we can connect to each other, the “why” may be getting a little blurry. So we want to take a step back every now and take a critical look at the connected devices that actually go out and buy, right now.(Ed note: We also do a round-up of crowdfunding ideas you can’t quite get yet…or possibly should never be able to get.)Here’s what caught our eye, for all the right – or wrong – reasons:The Best of…..Bios incubeWhatever your views on the existence of the afterlife, reality is that cemetery space is becoming a crowded, expensive, commodity. The alternative cremation results in the question of how to deal with the ashes, with the options not  all that appealing, especially if you’ve already been to a scattering of ashes where the wind blew them back in the faces of the bereaved.Now there’s another option thanks to Bios Incube, a biodegradable urn containing a tree seed in which you can place the ashes and monitor remotely. According to the manufacturers, “the urn provides proper germination and later growth of the tree, based on a person or pet’s ashes. In this way, death becomes a transformation and return to life by means of nature”. The Bios Incube is a step up the from the creators earlier device of simply a seed and a biodegradable urn, and it is designed to  facilitate growth, and enables you to track and monitor your Bios Urn. A corresponding mobile app tells you how your tree is growing, and when necessary, provide advice for maintenance…because surely there’d be nothing worse than planting a loved one’s ashes with a growing tree only to have it die on you, too? Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaceslast_img read more

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first_imgKolkata Knight Riders are on a 10-game winning streak in the IPLHaving launched their title defence on a victorious note, defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) would like to continue their dominance at home when they take on a formidable Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in an Indian Premier League (IPL) encounter on Saturday.However, the Knights would be up against a stiff challenge from the Virat Kohli-led RCB, who flattered to deceive in the last edition despite having a star-studded line-up, including the likes of batting dashers West Indian Chris Gayle and South African AB de Villiers.Besides, the big-hitting West Indies player and the South African skipper would also like to use the opportunity to overcome their World Cup heart-break.South Africa were beaten in the semi-finals by runners-up New Zealand. The West Indies also bowed to the Black Caps in the last eight stage.While the Knights batsmen had a blast in their lung opener against Mumbai Indians, skipper Gautam Gambhir would certainly hope for a better performance from his bowlers and fielders.After reducing Mumbai Indians to 37/3, the Knights failed to make any further inroads. Haemorrhaging 88 runs in the last six overs, the fielders spilled three catches, prompting Gambhir to demand an improvement in the fielding standard.”We need to get our fielding standards up because in these kind of tournament if you drop dangerous players, it can get tough,” Gambhir said post the Mumbai victory.KKR would continue to rely on their superior bowling arsenal, spearheaded by pacer Morne Morkel and ‘mystery’ spinner Sunil Narine.advertisementThe Shah Rukh Khan co-owned side would like to see their star spinner – fulcrum of KKR’s twin IPL crowns – returning to his intimidating best at the earliest. Bowling with a remodelled action, Narine went wicketless against Mumbai.Last season, RCB were hurt by the poor form of their top batsmen, notably Gayle, AB de Villiers and Kohli. The bowling attack, despite the presence of Australian Mitchell Starc, Varun Aaron and Yuzvendra Chahal, lacked conviction.The visitors would certainly look to buck that trend and would bank on Aussie quick Starc, the “Player of the Tournament” at the World Cup.While Gayle’s performance in the recent World Cup was not very encouraging, none can doubt his prowess to decimate any bowling attack on his day.With all-rounders Darren Sammy and the young South African David Wiese in their ranks along with seasoned campaigner in keeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik, the RCB have a balanced side.Head to head, the Knights have an edge over the visitors having won eight of their last 14 encounters.Teams(from):Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli(c), AB de Villiers, Chris Gayle Mitchell Starc Nic Maddinson, Rilee Rossouw, Daren Sammy, David Wiese, Sean Abbott, Adam Milne, Varun Aaron, Ashoke Dinda, Harshal Patel, Vijay Zol, Abu Nechim, Sandeep Warrier, Yogesh Takawale, Yuzvendra Chahal, Iqbal Abdulla, Manvinder Bisla, Mandeep Singh, Dinesh Karthik, Subramaniam Badrinath, Sarfaraz Khan, Jalaj Saxena, Shishir Bhavane.Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir(c), Sunil Narine, Robin Uthappa (wicketkeeper), Piyush Chawla, Yusuf Pathan, Umesh Yadav, Manish Pandey, Suryakumar Yadav Veer, Pratap Singh, Kuldeep Yadav, Sumit Narwal, Sheldon Jackson, Aditya Garhwal, KC Cariappa, Vaibhav Rawal, Manish Pandey.A Shakib Al Hasan, Morne Morkel, Pat Cummins, Ryan ten Doeschate, Andre Russell, Brad Hogg, Azhar Mahmood, Johan Botha.last_img read more

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