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EDITORS NOTE

CREATE THE FUTURE


THE IDEA VS. EXECUTION DEBATE: WHY
IDEAS ARE EVERYTHING
By AMY COSPER
the human brain imagines, but the ideas sibly, one of the earliest entrepreneurs).
that will take your company in a new di- He never stopped thinking, exploring
rection: product lines, marketing—what- and challenging conventional wisdom. At
ever. New ideas are what make the world the time, some of his work was consid-
of business much more than business. ered perverse and unnatural, but he kept
They keep things dynamic, fluid and conceiving, and he kept documenting his
interesting. They make for great stories. ideas. He broke down barriers.
They create legacies and lay the founda- Your new ideas and new approaches

I recently heard
the following
spoken with authority; “Ideas, my dear,
tion for the next generation.
The Renaissance is flush with such les-
sons. Leonardo da Vinci was an inventor,
are what make you part of a new cultural
and economic renaissance. That’s why
we are entusiastic to give you our Ideas
are a dime a dozen. Execution is not. a writer, a mathematician, an architect, a on Ideas. We hope it inspires you to be
Execution is the thing—it is rare and it is painter, a sculptor—the list goes on and more creative and allow you adopt the
revered. The idea is not. There are many on. He was persecuted for his new ways systems and methods of thinking that
ideas and far fewer successful execu- of thinking and seeing. He was one of the will create the future.
tions.”  first great experimenters (and, quite pos-
So sayeth the wise and bloviating, some
would call seasoned CEO, speaking in a

Photo credit: shutterstock


half-baked English accent one morning
over salty eggs and exceedingly strong
conference coffee. 
First things first: Do not call me “dear”
or “kiddo” or anything other than my
name—especially over salty eggs. It
makes me cranky.
And yet, this man annoyed me more with
his perceptions about ideas. Those kept
me up longer than the shitty coffee. Ideas
vs. execution. Is that really a debate?
We’ve always believed new ways of think-
ing will change the world. What is this
thought that ideas are trite? What about
disruptive thinking, new ways of seeing?
We hold these ideals dear.
This brief conversation had its roots
firmly anchored in the topic of M&A—
when to sell, when to buy and who the
management team should be. Beyond the
obvious talk of the role of lawyers and
brokers, the discussion rubbed me the
wrong way. The thinking that new ideas
Photo credit: shutterstock

are simply distractions that cost money


and can possibly be setbacks gave me
a stomach ache. And it did so because I
disagree. I would submit: New ideas are
not only important, they are golden.
Around our tiny entrepreneurial
bullpen, we celebrate ideas. We embrace
them. Not only the ideas for new busi-
nesses and startups and the wacky ways

1 http://www.inventmagazine.online
CONTENTS
FEATURES
Are Outdated Rules
19 Killing Innovation in Your
Company?

How The Internet Is


6 Altering Your Mind

17 THE DARK WEB


1 EDITORS NOTE

12 21
WAYS TO
STAY CREATIVE
Column

2 http://www.inventmagazine.online
CONTENTS
DEPARTMENTS
18
MPACT
20 EW GIZMOS
& GADGETS

9
ISION
EXPLORATION &
11


EMMERGANCE OF
IDEAS

14 EW INENTIONS

16
ECHNOLOGY
REVIEW

http://www.inventmagazine.online 3
COVER STORY

-Image credit

4 http://www.inventmagazine.online
HOW
THE
INTERNET
IS
ALTERING

YOUR
MIND
t: Getty Images

http://www.inventmagazine.online 5
COVER STORY

How The Internet Is Altering Your Mind


A NEW BOOK CLAIMS THE AMOUNT OF TIME WE SPEND
ON THE INTERNET IS CHANGING THE VERY STRUCTURE OF
OUR BRAINS –DAMAGING OUR ABILITY TO THINK AND LEARN.
By JOHN HARRIS hat you are about to read was
W
revelatory – but at the lower end of the
written using a computer con- age range lurked evidence of the world to
Guardian Imaging
Photograph: Jonas Forman for

nected to the Internet. Obviously, this come. Among 16-to-24-year-olds, televi-


had no end of benefits, mostly pertain- sion was not nearly as dominant: half
ing to the relative ease of my research their “media time” was devoted to mobile
and the simplicity of contacting the peo- phones and computers – and in turn,
ple whose thoughts and opinions you are two-thirds of that time was spent doing
Photo credit: nicholascarr.com

about to read. Modern communications two digital things at once. The younger
technology is now so familiar as to seem you are, it seems, the more your media
utterly banal, but set against my clear consumption finds you multitasking; I’m
memories of a time before it arrived, a relatively ancient 40, but my habits are
there is still something magical about, increasingly similar.
say, optimistically sending an email to a
scientist in southern California, and then
talking to him within an hour.
“our online
But then there is the downside. The habits are
tool I use to write not only serves as my
word processor and digital postbox, but
altering the very
can also double as – among other things structure of our
– a radio, TV, news-wire portal and shop.
Thus, as I put together the following brains.”
2,000-ish words, I was entertained in
my more idle moments by no end of dis- It often feels as if all this frantic activity
tractions. I watched YouTube videos of creates a constant state of twitchy anxie-
Manic Street Preachers, Yoko Ono, and ty, as any addiction usually does. Moreo-
the Labor leadership ver, having read a freshly published and
The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing candidates. Via Amazon, I bought a hotly controversial book about the effect
to Our Brains By Nicholas Carr teach-yourself-to-spell DVD-Rom for my of digital media on the human mind, I
Hardcover, 276 pages W.W. Norton & Co.
son, which turned out to be rubbish. And may have very good reason to feel scared.
at downright stupid hours of the day – Its thesis is simple enough: not only that
Photo credit:Joanie Simon

6am, or almost midnight – I once again the modern world’s relentless informa-
checked my email on either my phone tional overload is killing our capacity
or computer. Naturally, my inbox was for reflection, the very structure of our
usually either exactly how I had left it, brains.
or newly joined by something that could The Shallows is a 276-page book by
easily have waited – though for some American writer Nicholas Carr, just
reason, this never seems to register. published in the US, about to appear in
Obviously, I am not alone in this the UK, and already the focus of a noisy
affliction. Yesterday, scores of headlines debate. Two years ago, Carr wrote an
focused on a new report by the media essay for the Atlantic magazine entitled
regulator Ofcom, which found that “Is Google making us stupid?” This is the
Britons spend more than seven hours a full-length version: an elegantly written
day watching TV, going online, sending cry of anguish about what one admirer
texts and reading newspapers, and that calls “the uneducating of Homo sapiens”,
Nicholas Carr is also the author of
web-capable smartphones are now a and a rewiring of neural pathways and
The Big Switch: Rewiring the World,
from Edison to Google and Does IT Matter? fixed part of millions of people’s lives. networks that may yet deprive the human
He blogs at Rough Type. Superficially, all this hardly seemed race of the talents that – ironically enough

6 http://www.inventmagazine.online
key initial difference between the two Boeing is the latest example – on how they
Photo credit: shutterstock

groups: in an area of the brain called the might get to grips with the effects of online
dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, which saturation on their younger employees, and
deals with short-term memory and deci- reacquaint them with the offline world.
sion-making, the rookies showed hardly When I ask him how I might stop the
any activity, whereas the web veterans internet’s more malign effects on my own
were really firing. brain, he sounds slightly more optimistic
Six days later, the novices having been than Carr: we have the capacity to pull
– drove our journey from caves to PC told to spend an hour a day online, the ourselves back from the mental brink –
terminals. two groups’ brains were scanned again – though only if we know what’s at stake.
In the book, Carr looks back on such and this time, things got even more inter- “The brain can right itself if we’re aware of
human inventions as the map, the clock esting: in images of both sets of brains, these issues,” he says. “But we have to make
and the typewriter, and how much the pattern of blobs representing mental decisions as to what we can do about it. Try
they influenced our essential modes activity was virtually identical. As Small to balance online time with offline time,” he
of thought (among the people whose put it: “After just five days of practice, the tells me. “What’s happening is, we’re losing
writing was changed by the latter were exact same neural circuitry in the front the circadian rhythms we’re used to; you go
Friedrich Nietszche and TS Eliot). By the part of the brain became active in the to work, you come home, you spend time
same token, he argues that the Internet’s internet-naive subjects. Five hours on talking with your kids.”
“cacophony of stimuli” and “crazy quilt” the internet, and the naive subjects had
of information has given rise to “cursory already rewired their brains.” What about the idea of calming down
reading hurried and distracted thinking, Small is the director of the Memory and when you’re online? I’m actually pretty
and superficial learning” – in contrast Ageing Research Centre at the University good at offline time, but as soon as I’m
to the age of the book, when intelligent of California, Los Angeles, a specialist back at my desk, it’s all YouTube and
humans were encouraged to be contem- in the effects on the brain of the ageing compulsive email checking, and it’s rather
plative and imaginative. process, and the co-inventor of the first doing my head in. “It’s hard,” he says.
But here is the really important thing. brain-scanning technology to detect the “There’s a pull. The Internet lures us. Our
Carr claims that our burgeoning under- physical evidence of Alzheimer’s disease. brains become addicted to it. And we have
standing of how experience rewires our “Even an old brain can be quite mallea- to be aware of that, and not let it control
brain’s circuits throughout our lives – a ble, and responsive to what’s going on us.”
matter of what’s known as “neuro- plas- with technology,” he tells me. Among the people with walk-on roles in
ticity” – seems to point in one very wor- He goes on: “It’s a basic principle that The Shallows is Scott Karp, the editor of
rying direction. Among the most hair- the brain is very sensitive to any kind of a renowned American digital media blog
raising passages in the book is this one: stimulation, and from moment to mo- called Publish2, whose reading habits are
“If, knowing what we know today about ment, there is a very complex cascade of held up as proof of the fact that plenty
the brain’s plasticity, you were to set out neurochemical electrical consequences of people’s brains have long since been
to invent a medium that would rewire to every form of stimulation. If you have rewired by their enthusiastic use of the
our mental circuits as quickly and thor- repeated stimuli, your neural circuits will internet.
oughly as possible, you would probably be excited. But if you neglect other stim-
end up designing something that looks
and works a lot like the internet.”
uli, other neural circuits will be weak-
ened.” This is the nub of Carr’s argument:
“the way I THINK
Surprisingly little research has looked that the online world so taxes the parts has changed”
into the internet’s effects on the brain, of the brain that deal with fleeting and
but the work that forms Carr’s holy temporary stuff that deep thinking Despite a degree from New York Univer
grail was carried out in 2008, by a trio becomes increasingly impossible. As he sity in English and Spanish literature, Carr
of psychiatrists at UCLA led by Dr Gary sees it: “Our ability to learn suffers, and claims that Karp has given up reading
Small, himself the co-author of a book our understanding remains shallow.” books altogether, perhaps because of
titled iBrain: surviving the technological Small is only too aware of what too Carr claims that Karp has given up reading
alteration of the modern mind. Under much time spent online can do to other books altogether, perhaps because of what
their supervision, 12 experienced web mental processes. Among the young a working life spent online seems to have
users and 12 digital newcomers used people he calls digital natives (a term done to his mental makeup. One of Karp’s
Google, while their brains were scanned. first coined by the US writer and educa- online posts is quoted as follows: “I was
The results, published under the title tionalist Marc Prensky), he has repeat- a lit major in college, and used to be a
Your Brain On Google, pointed up a edly seen a lack of human contact skills voracious book reader. What happened?

http://www.inventmagazine.online 7
COVER STORY

Photo credit: http://andrewburn.org/


What if I do all my reading on the web teammates are doing, to the mechanics of
not so much because the way I read has the game. You can set up a thesis for The
changed . . . but because the way I THINK Depths, just as much as The Shallows."
has changed?” And what of all these worries about
As it turns out, Karp has only stopped the transformation of the human brain?
reading non-fiction. Contrary to Carr’s "Temporary synaptic rewiring happens
thesis, he says he still has no problem whenever anybody learns anything," he
reading novels, and thinks his long-term says. "I'm learning a musical instrument
memory is in as good shape as ever. Professor Andrew Burn at the moment, and I can feel my
What he attests to, though, is a radical synapses rewiring themselves, but
shift in the way he consumes informa- I get a more convincing antidote to the it's just a biological mechanism. And
tion, which may or may not have caused Carr thesis from Professor Andrew Burn it seems to me that to say that some
his mental circuits to change. of the University of London's Institute of neural pathways are good and some are
This, he tells me, is all down to his Education, who has long specialized in the bad – well, how can you possibly say
appetite for connecting multiple bits – way that children and young people use that? It could be a good thing: people are
and, it seems, only bits – of information, what far too many people still call "new becoming adaptive, and more supple in
rather than digesting big chunks of media", and its effects on their minds. their search for information." Carr, he
stuff from single sources, one at a time. Equating the Internet with distraction and reckons, is guilty of a "slippage into an
“I thrive on that connectedness of shallowness, he tells me, is a fundamental almost evolutionary argument", and he's
information,” he says, “so now, I maybe mistake, possibly bound up with Carr's age not having it at all.
read a given author’s argument in much (he is 50). "He's restricting what he says to He's also not impressed by the way
briefer form than a 10,000 word article the type of activities that the middle-aged Carr contrasts the allegedly snowballing
or a book – and then jump to another blogosphere-addict typically engages in," stupidity of the internet age with the
author’s argument, and follow that train says Professor Burn. "Is there anything in altogether more cerebral phase of
of thought. And sometimes I find that I his book about online role-playing games?" human progress when we all read
make leaps in thinking by reading things books. "What if the book is Mein Kampf?
from different perspectives, and going
from lily pad to lily pad.”
“to say that What if it's Jeffrey Archer? Or Barbara
Cartland? Am I not better off playing a
He assures me he understands any some neural well-constructed online game, or reading
argument’s strengths and weaknesses
before flitting to the next one, but I’m
pathways are Aristotle's poetics online? I really don't
see why books should particularly
not so sure. Aren’t there thousands good and some promote worthwhile thought, unless
of books that have to be read in their they're worthwhile books. And the same
entirety before we can really get our are bad – well, applies to what's on the Internet."
head round the author’s point of view? how can you This all sounds both comforting
The last thumping great book I read and convincing, until I return to The
was the biography of Barack Obama by possibly say Shallows, and a particularly sobering
David Remnick, the editor of the New
Yorker – and the idea of boiling it down
that?” sentence on page 222 (contrary to
Carr's darker predictions, I easily made
to a skimmable extract seems almost it to the end). "We are welcoming the
offensive. The same applies to, say, any Not much, I tell him, and he's off. frenziedness into our souls," he writes.
number of books by Marx and Engels, "Carr's argument privileges activities of There's something chilling about those
or even (possibly) Ozzy Osbourne’s the skimming and browsing kind. But if words, and even 20 stupid minutes
autobiography. you look at research on kids doing online on YouTube and an impulse buy from
“Absolutely,” he says, rather guiltily. “I gaming, or exploring virtual worlds Amazon cannot quite remove them from
completely agree with that. And I’m sure such as Second Life, the argument there my brain.
that I have come up shallow, if you use is about immersion and engagement –
Nicholas Carr’s argument. But I’ve only and it's even about excessive forms of
got a finite amount of time.” immersion and engagement that get
Whatever, Karp is not fazed by the labeled as addiction. The point is, to play
idea that heavy internet use might be successfully in an online role-playing
reshaping his brain. “Everything changes game; you have to pay an incredible
our brain,” he says. “Everything. That’s amount of attention to what your

8 http://www.inventmagazine.online
VISION

THE VISION AND


THE VISIONARY
THE CREATIVE PROCESS
By Steven J. Paley

H ow do you get the vision? Where


does it come from? This is a complex
subject, but in brief, vision can come from
in the mountains with his dog one day
in the late 1940s. There was nothing
unusual in this, except that when de
It takes an inventor's mind-a mind open
to seeing in a new light that which is right
in front of us-to say, "Hey, this would make
anywhere at anytime. Mestral returned, he noticed that his a great fastener." Once that novelty is
Below are four examples of vision: pants and the fur of his dog were covered recognized, the vision is in place. Now the
• Seeing a problem that has not prviously wit cockleburs, the spiky seed-pods that question becomes "How do I get from here
been recognized or acknowledged. An cling to whatever moves past them so to there?" It took George de Mestral years
example of such a problem is the length the seeds of the plant will be spread. De of hard work and persistence to make
of time between sending a package and Mestral started removing the burrs and his vision a reality. But he held fast to his
its delivery to the recipent. The logistics vision, even in the face of ridicule and
of the mail processing system dictated temporary failure. De Mestral collaborat-

Velcro Hook and Loop Fastener.


that the transit time was typically close ed with a weaver employed by a French
to a week. Federal Express pioneered the textile tile manufacturer to refine his
idea that a package could be delivered invention. Eventually, he found that treat-
the next day. ment with infrared light strengthened the
Photo by Ivan Boden.
• Seeing a solution and discovering the nylon hooks to the desired degree to form
problem it solves. The invention of chew- the burr side of the fastener, enabled him
ing gum described in the previous chap- to create a multimillion-dollarindustry.
ter is an example of having a solution and
then finding the problem.
• Seeing a new use for existing technology.
Examples of this include the idea that
electricity, when it was first harnessed,
could be used for communication (as out of curiosity, decided to look at one of
developed by Samuel Morse and others); them under his microscope. He saw the
that radar could be transformed into a surface of the burr was covered with tiny
cooking device (microwave oven); and hooks which easily fastened to the fur of
that the integrated circuit could be used an animal or the clothing of a hiker. He
to make a handheld calculator. wondered if he could somehow use this
• Seeing a novel solution to an existing mechanism of attachment to design a
problem. Here the vision or insight is new kind of fastener. He began to work
seeing a better way to do something that on his idea by experimenting with
is already being done. Fasteners such as different materials, one with a hooked
the paper clip and Velcro are examples of side and the other with a loosely woven
this approach. cloth side to receive the hooks. In due
Note that every example above starts course, his experiments paid off, and in
with the word seeing. Once you can see collaboration with a textile tile manufac-
the idea clearly in your mind, you have a turer, he eventually produced a revo- The Art of Invention: The Creative
place to begin. Invention often involves lutionary new temporary fastener. He Process of Discovery and Design
what I call seeing the hidden obvious. We called the product Velcro, a combination Steven J. Paley. Amherst, NY:
all wish we were the inventor of Velcro, of the words velour and crochet. Prometheus Books, 2010. 236 pages.
but it took George de Mestral going for How many times have you walked
a walk in the woods to see the hidden through thewoods and had burrs from
obvious. De Mestral, a Swiss mountaineer plants stuck on your clothing? Most of us
and electrical engineer, went for a hike would simply consider it an annoyance.

http://www.inventmagazine.online 9
The world’s first wristwatch with a dual frequency
locator beacon

Breitling has reaffirmed its pioneering role in the


field of technical watches and instruments for
professionals by creating the very first wristwatch
with a built-in personal locator beacon (PLB). The
Emergency is a high-tech gem equipped with a
dual frequency transmitter compliant with the spec-
ifications of the Cospas-Sarsat international satel-
lite alert system and serving both to issue alerts and
to guide search and rescue missions.

Developed in conjunction with major scientif-


ic institutes, the Emergency is distinguished by
numerous microelectronic and microtechnical
innovations, including a revolutionary rechargeable
battery, a miniaturized dual frequency transmitter
and an unprecedented integrated antenna system –
three features specifically developed for this model.

As the first ever wristworn dual frequency PLB, it


establishes itself as a safety and survival instrument
in all distress situations on land, at sea and in the
air.

10 http://www.inventmagazine.online
EXPLORATION & EMMERGANCE OF IDEAS

Needfinding
& Paradigms
FINDING UNMET NEEDS BY DISCARDING OLD
PARADIGMS AND SEEING NEW PARADIGMS
By Steven J. Paley

T hese needs are often not apparent


until they are discovered. Entrepre-
neurship usually involves discovering an
project he was working on. It was called
the Xerox STAR system-a small comput-
er with a revolutionary new interface.
I could not imagine why anyone
would want a machine that took the
challenge out of computing, that made
unfulfilled need and building a business Instead of programming this computer computers simpler, more understand-
around the solution. Needfinding is a in some arcane and technical comput- able. Another gentleman Steve Jobs
subtle art and certainly not a science. er language through a text editor, one visited Xerox and came out with a
It requires that we remove our mental interacted acted with the machine in a very different impression. Where I
filters and see our everyday world in a much more human and intuitive way. The saw an interesting novelty, he saw the
completely fresh light. The most difficult software ware displayed images, called future of computing. Inspired by the
part of needfinding is discarding our icons, of office paraphernalia such as work at Xerox, Steve jobs went on to
existing paradigms. Paradigms are file cabinets, inets, files, and documents. develop the Apple Lisa and the Apple
mental models of the way things are. Imitating real life, documents could be Macintosh. Jobs had a vision, and had
In his book The Structure of Scientific dragged in and out of files. This was the courage to venture forth against
Revolutions, Thomas Kuhn argued that accomplished by a small device that sat the prevailing vailing paradigms. How
when information becomes available beside the computer and maneuvered a do we get outside of our paradigms?
that does not fit within the paradigm, cursor around the screen. The professor The difficulty in stepping back from
digm, a scientific revolution occurs called this device a mouse. (It looked a your established surroundings and
and the paradigm is forced to change. little like a mouse with its tail-like con- seeing anew is immense. However, a
Kuhn calls these revolutions “paradigm necting wire.) The professor extolled the good start is to recognize that we are
shifts.” Paradigm shifts are generally virtues of the STAR machine, saying that all bounded by paradigms. Only once
vigorously resisted until they are proved it would bring computing to the average we are aware of their existance can
valid beyond a shadow of a doubt. When person. At the time, I was a full-fledged we try to move beyond it. A key to
personal computers were first devel- computer geek who programmed in needfinding is getting outside of our
oped, the existing paradigm digm was everything from hexadecimal to FORTH. paradigms.
that there could be no real use for a small
computer in the home. Computers were
designed for industry or research. There
were mainframes and mini-computers,
and all processing was centralized. The
idea of small, personal computers was
far outside the paradigm. Again, it was
difficult at the time for people whose
worldview of computers was with-
in the existing paradigm to imagine
Photo credit: Getty Images

Photo credit: Shutterstock

anything outside of it. The challenge


for the inventor is to be able to step
outside of his paradigm and see other
possibilities. I had the experience of
being stuck in a paradigm in the early
1980s when I was a graduate student.
My professor was a researcher at Xerox
Research Center (PARC) in Palo Alto,
California. One evening, he invited our
XEROX Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) is the innovation lab of XEROX
class to the Xerox facility to see the new
corporation where graphical user interface (GUI) was invented including the mouse.

http://www.inventmagazine.online 11
CREATIVE COLUMN

21
WAYS TO
STAY
CREATIVE
by Steven Sullivan
LIST

4.

5.
6.
7. LISTEN
8.
9.

10.

12. COLLABORATE
13. PERSEVERE
TRY AGAIN

MAKE MISTAKES
16. EXPLORE
RISK
NEW IDEAS

POSITIVE
21. EXPERIMENT

12 http://www.inventmagazine.online
CREATIVITY

Creativity is the act of turning


new and imaginative ideas into re-
ality. Creativity is characterised by
the ability to perceive the world in
new ways, to findhidden patterns,
to make connections between
seemingly unrelated phenomena,
and to generate solutions. Cre-
ativity involves two processes:
thinking, then producing. If you
have ideas, but don’t act on them,
you are imaginative but not
creative.

ING
Photo credit: Getty Images

CREAT
SOME
OUT OF NO TH
. . . as imagination bodies forth The forms of
things unknown, the poet’s pen Turns them to
shapes and gives to airy nothing A local habi-
tation and a name.   —SHAKESPEARE, A Mid-
summer Night’s Dream, V.i. 14-17

http://www.inventmagazine.online 13
NEW INVENTIONS

Electronic Inventions Today


NEW APPS AND WEBSITES YOUR KIDS ARE USING
By Polly Conway

G one are the days of Facebook as a


one-stop shop for all social-network-
ing needs. Recent reports go back and
the main app), many of which offer prod-
ucts for sale.
There’s some stranger danger. An app
forth on teens’ favorite digital hangout, named OinkText, linked to Kik, allows
but the fact is that these days, teens are communication with strangers who
diversifying: dividing their attention share their Kik usernames to find people
among an array of apps and sites that let to chat with. There’s also a Kik communi-
them write, share, chat, and meet new ty blog where users can submit photos of
friends. It may seem more complicat- themselves and screenshots of messages
ed to share photos on Instagram, post (sometimes displaying users’ full names)
secrets on Whisper, flirt with people to contests. to your photos, making them look high
on Skout, and share jokes on Twitter, ooVoo is a free video, voice, and mes- quality and artistic.
but tweens and teens seem to enjoy saging app. Users can have group chats What you need to know:
keeping up with their various virtual with up to 12 people for free -- and it’s Teens are on the lookout for “likes.”
outposts, and each one offers something common for kids to log on after school Similar to the way they use Facebook,
different. You don’t need to know the ins and keep it open while doing homework. teens may measure the “success” of their
and outs of all the apps and sites that Maybe they’re using it for group study photos -- even their self-worth -- by
are “hot” right now (and frankly, if you sessions? the number of likes or comments they
did, they wouldn’t be trendy anymore). What you need to know; receive.
But knowing the basics such as, what You can only chat with approved friends. Public photos are the default. Photos
they are, why they’re popular, and what Users can only communicate with those and videos shared on Instagram are pub-
problems can crop up when they’re not on their approved contact lists, which lic unless privacy settings are adjusted.
used responsibly -- can make the differ- can help ease parents’ safety concerns. Hashtags and location information can
ence between a positive and a negative It can be distracting. Because the ser- make photos even more visible to com-
experience for your kid. vice makes video chatting so affordable munities beyond a teen’s followers if his
Below, we’ve laid out some of the most and accessible, it also can be addicting. or her account is public.
popular types of apps and websites for WhatsApp lets users send text messag- Private messaging is now an option.
teens: texting, micro-blogging, self-de- es, audio messages, videos, and photos Instagram Direct allows users to send
structing/secret, and chatting/meeting/ to one or many people with no message “private messages” to up to 15 mutual
dating. The more you know about each, limits or fees. friends. These pictures don’t show up on
the better you’ll be able to communicate What you need to know: their public feeds. Although there’s noth-
with your teen about safe choices. It’s for users 16 and over. Lots of younger ing wrong with group chats, kids may be
teens seem to be using the app, but this more likely to share inappropriate stuff
TEXTING APPS age minimum has been set by WhatsApp. with their inner circles.
Kik Messenger is an app that lets kids It can be pushy. After you sign up, it auto- Tumblr is like a cross between a blog
text for free. It’s fast and has no message matically connects you to all the people and Twitter: It’s a streaming scrapbook
limits, character limits, or fees if you in your address book who also are using of text, photos, and/or videos and audio
only use the basic features. Because it’s WhatsApp. It also encourages you to add clips. Users create and follow short blogs,
an app, the texts won’t show up on your friends who haven’t signed up yet. or “tumblelogs,” that can be seen by any-
kid’s phone’s messaging service, and one online (if made public). Many teens
you’re not charged for them (beyond MICRO-BLOG APPS AND SITES have tumblelogs for personal use: shar-
standard data rates). Instagram lets users snap, edit, and ing photos, videos, musings, and things
What you need to know: share photos and 15-second videos, they find funny with their friends.
It’s loaded with ads and in-app-purchas- either publicly or with a private network What you need to know:
es. Kik specializes in “promoted chats” of followers. It unites the most popular Porn is easy to find. This online
-- basically, conversations between features of social media sites: sharing, hangout is hip and creative but some-
brands and users. It also offers specially seeing, and commenting on photos. It times raunchy. Pornographic images and
designed apps (accessible only through also lets you apply fun filters and effects videos and depictions of violence, self-

14 http://www.inventmagazine.online
harm, drug use, and offensive language There are significant privacy concerns. explicit than those with an identifiable
are easily searchable. The videos you post, the accounts you user might be.
Privacy can be guarded but only follow, and the comments you make on Skout is a flirting app that allows users
to sign up as teens or adults. They’re
through an awkward workaround. The videos all are public by default. But you
then placed in the appropriate peer
first profile a member creates is public can adjust your settings to protect your
group, where they can post to a feed,
and viewable by anyone on the Internet. posts; only followers will see them, and comment on others’ posts, add pictures,
Members who desire full privacy have you have to approve new followers. and chat. They’ll get notifications when
to create a second profile, which they’re Parents can be star performers (without other users near their geographic area
able to password-protect. Posts are their knowledge). If your teens film you join, and they can search other areas by
often copied and shared. Reblogging being goofy or silly, you may want to talk cashing in points. They receive notifica-
on Tumblr is similar to re-tweeting: A about whether they plan to share it. tions when someone “checks” them out
post is reblogged from one tumblelog to but must pay points to see who it is.
What you need to know:
another. Many teens like -- and, in fact, CHATTING, MEETING, DATING APPS
Skout is actually OK for teens if used
want -- their posts reblogged. But do you AND SITES
appropriately. If your teens are going
really want your kids’ words and photos MeetMe Chat and Meet New People,” to use a dating app, Skout is probably
on someone else’s page? says it all. Although not marketed as a the safest choice, if only because it has
Twitter is a microblogging site that dating app, MeetMe does have a “Match” a teens-only section that seems to be
allows users to post brief, 140-character feature whereby users can “secretly moderated reasonably well.
messages -- called “tweets” -- and follow admire” others, and its large user base There’s no age verification. This makes
other users’ activities. It’s not only for means fast-paced communication and it easy for a teen to say she’s older than
adults; teens like using it to share tidbits guaranteed attention. 18 and an adult to say she’s younger.
Tinder is a photo and messaging dating
and keep up with news and celebrities. What you need to know:
app for browsing pictures of potential
What you need to know It’s an open network. Users can chat
matches within a certain-mile radius of
Public tweets are the norm for teens. with whomever’s online, as well as the user’s location. It’s very popular with
Though you can choose to keep your search locally, opening the door for po- 20-somethings as a way to meet new
tweets private, most teens report having tential trouble. people for casual or long-term relation-
public accounts (Pew Internet & Ameri- Lots of details are required. First and ships.
can Life Project, 2013). Talk to your kids last name, age, and ZIP code are request- What you need to know
about what they post and how a post can ed at registration, or you can log in using It’s location-based.Geolocation means
spread far and fast. Updates appear im- a Facebook account. The app also asks it’s possible for teens to meet up with
nearby people, which can be very dan-
mediately. Even though you can remove permission to use location services on
gerous. As a user of these new electronic
tweets, your followers can still read what your teens’ mobile devices, meaning they
inventions, the bottom line is that you
you wrote until it’s gone. This can get can find the closest matches wherever should know what they do and how to
kids in trouble if they say something in they go. use them. So do your research and check
the heat of the moment. Omegle is a chat site (and app) that the default settings to insure you have
Vine is a social media app that lets puts two strangers together in their what you want setup the way you want.
users post and watch looping six-sec- choice of a text chat or video chat room.
ond video clips. This Twitter-owned Being anonymous can be very attractive
service has developed a unique com- to teens, and Omegle provides a no-fuss
munity of people who post videos that opportunity to make connections. Its
are often creative, funny, and sometimes “interest boxes” also let users filter po-
thought-provoking. Teens usually use tential chat partners by shared interests.
Vine to create and share silly videos of What you need to know ;
themselves and/or their friends and Users get paired up with strangers.
families. That’s the whole premise of the app. And
What you need to know: there’s no registration required.
It’s full of inappropriate videos. In three This is not an app for kids and teens.
minutes of random searching, we came Omegle is filled with people searching
across a clip full of full-frontal nudity, a for sexual chat. Some prefer to do so
woman in a fishnet shirt with her breasts live. Others offer links to porn sites.
exposed, and people blowing marijuana Language is a big issue. Since the chats
smoke into each other’s mouths. are anonymous, they’re often much more

http://www.inventmagazine.online 15
TECHNOLOGY REVIEW

LESSONS FROM THE


DIGITAL CLASSROOM
TECHNOLOGISTS AND VENTURE CAPITALIST
ARE BETTING THAT ONLINE LEARNING WILL
RESHAPE EDUCATION
By Nanette Byrnes

While most schools don’t have the type his wife began applying to preschool for
of technology AltSchool is developing, their daughter in 2012. “What role can
classrooms are increasingly filled with technology play to superpower each child
laptops and other digital teaching aids. and each set of parents and educators?”
This year U.S. elementary, middle, and Similar experiments are under way in
high schools are expected to spend $4.7 colleges as well. In the seven years since
billion on information technology. What the first “massive open online course,”
is new is that many of the technologies Connectivism and Connective Knowledge,
are capturing expansive amounts of data, was taught by two Canadian educators,
enough of it to search for meaningful Stephen Downes and George Siemens,
patterns and insight into how students MOOCs have become a source of tremen-
learn. The potential for that to be turned dous amounts of data about students’
into profit is a big reason investors behavior. Examination of this data has
have increased funding of educational intensified since 2012, when the three
technology startups worldwide, from largest platforms for these classes were

I n four small schools scattered across San


Francisco, a data experiment is under
way. That is where AltSchool is testing how
$1.6 billion in 2013 to $2.4 billion in
2014; they invested over $1 billion more
in the first quarter of 2015, much of that
launched: the Harvard-MIT joint venture
edX and two for-profit companies founded
by former Stanford professors, Udacity
technology can help teachers maximize in China. What all that data is teaching and Coursera. Between the fall of 2012
their students’ learning. us about how we learn and whether and the summer of 2014, more than a
Founded two years ago by Max ¬Ventilla, technology is actually making instruction million people participated in the 68 open
a data expert and former head of person- better are the big questions at the heart online courses on EdX, logging 1.1 billion
alization at Google, AltSchool runs schools of this Business Report. clicks on the edX servers.
filled with data-gathering technology. At the AltSchools, where tuition can ex- While only a small percentage of stu-
Information is captured from the moment ceed $20,000 a year, the goal is to create dents complete any given MOOC, their
each student arrives at school and checks highly individualized instruction built on data is helping educators develop new
in on an attendance app. For part of the a system that can grow to reach a broad teaching models that promise to be more
day, students work independently, using scale. Four more AltSchools are opening effective—such as programs that combine
iPads and Chromebooks, on “playlists” of this fall, including one in Brooklyn, New online instruction with one-on-one coach-
activities that teachers have selected to York, and Ventilla hopes to eventually ing or support, regular quizzes, and other
match their personal goals. Data about each sell access to the system to other schools, check-ins on progress. where 50 percent
student’s progress is captured for teachers’ too. of students have traditionally earned a D
later review. Classrooms are recorded, and AltSchool has raised $133 million or F.
teachers can flag important moments by from the likes of Facebook founder Reports on students’ progress, the time
pressing a button, as you might TiVo your Mark ¬Zuckerberg, venture capitalist they are putting in, and their engagement
favorite television show. John Doerr, the Omidyar Network, and and success then go to student coaches
The idea is that all the data from this net- venture firms Andreessen Horowitz who reach out by e-mail, text message, or
work of schools will be woven into a smart and Founders Fund. “What if we tried to in person. In the first two semesters the
centralized operating system that teachers create not just great schools we’d like school used this approach, the pass rate
will be able to use to design effective and to send our kids to, but an expanding increased to 75 percent.
personalized instruction. There is even a ecosystem?” says ¬Ventilla, who started
recommendation engine built in. thinking about education when he and

16 http://www.inventmagazine.online
THE DARK WEB

WHAT IS THE DARK WEB?


THE DARK WEB IS WHERE ILLEGAL ACTIVITY
AND LEAGAL ACTIVITY TAKES PLACE WITH
WEBSITES THAT ARE NOT AVAILABLE THROUGH
USING A SEARCH ENGINE
By Matt Egan

T he Dark Web is a term that refers


specifically to a collection of websites
that are publicly visible, but hide the IP
within closed, totalitarian societies can
use the Dark Web to communicate with
the outside world. And given recent rev-
addresses of the servers that run them. elations about US- and UK government
Thus they can be visited by any web user, snooping on web use, you may feel it is
but it is very difficult to work out who sensible to take your communication on
is behind the sites. And you cannot find to the Dark Web. (I’ll stick to Facebook,
these sites using search engines. but I like the attention.) See also: What
Almost all sites on the so-called Dark does Google know about me?
Web hide their identity using the Tor Have a quick look by all means, but
encryption tool. You may know Tor for its How to access the Dark Web? please don’t take our linking to it as an
end-user-hiding properties. You can use Technically, this is not a difficult process. endorsement.
Tor to hide your identity, and spoof your You simply need to install and use Tor. Also, Dark Web sites do go down
location. When a website is run through Go to www.torproject.org and download from time to time, due to their dark
Tor it has much the same effect. the Tor Browser Bundle, which contains nature. But if you want good customer
Indeed, it multiplies the effect. To visit a all the required tools. Run the download- service, stay out of the dark!
site on the Dark Web that is using Tor en- ed file, choose an extraction location, And do heed our warning: this article
cryption, the web user needs to be using then open the folder and click Start Tor is intended as a guide to what is the
Tor. Just as the end user’s IP is bounced Browser. That’s it. The Vidalia Control Dark Web - not an endorsement or en-
through several layers of encryption to Panel will automatically handle the ran- couragement for you to start behaving
appear to be at another IP address on domised network setup and, when Tor is in illegal or immoral behaviour.
the Tor network, so is that of the website. ready, the browser will open; just close it
So there are several layers of magnitude again to disconnect from the network.
more secrecy than the already secret Depending on what you intend to do on
act of using Tor to visit a website on the the Dark Web, some users recommend
open internet - for both parties (See placing tape over your laptop’s webcam
also: How to delete your Google location to prevent prying eyes watching you. A
history). tinfoil hat is also an option.
Not all Dark Web sites use Tor. Some The difficult thing is knowing where to
use similar services such as I2P - indeed look. There, reader, we leave you to your
the all new Silk Road Reloaded uses this own devices and wish you good luck and
service. But the principle remains the safe surfing. And a warning before you go
same. The visitor has to use the same any further. Once you get into the Dark
encryption tool as the site and - crucially Web, you *will* be able to access those
- know where to find the site, in order to sites to which the tabloids refer. This
type in the URL and visit. means that you could be a click away
Infamous examples of Dark Web sites from sites selling drugs and guns, and -
include the Silk Road and its offspring. frankly - even worse things.
The Silk Road was (and maybe still is) a Aggregation sites such as Reddit offer
website for the buying and selling of rec- lists of links, as do several Wikis, includ-
reational drugs. But there are legitimate ing http://thehiddenwiki.org/ a list that
uses for the Dark Web. People operating offers access to some very bad places.

http://www.inventmagazine.online 17
IMPACT

18 http://www.inventmagazine.online
INNOVATION

Are Outdated Rules Killing


Innovation in Your Company?
GET RID OF THE OBSTICALS IN YOUR WAY
By Holly G Green

I nnovation is the process of coming up


with new ideas and/or putting together
existing ideas, products or services in new
selves about the way things are supposed
to be. And that’s where the notion of
“kill a stupid rule” aligns with what I am
an obstacle to progress?
• Solicit alternative viewpoints. Too of-
ten, teams rush to consensus rather than
and different ways to achieve value. In or- constantly helping clients with. considering all the options. When that
der to do that, we sometimes have to first So much of what goes on in organiza- happens, make a deliberate effort to get
get rid of the obstacles that are getting in tions is a result of thought bubbles and opposing ideas and opinions out on the
the way. One quick and simple method for assumptions. These unspoken thoughts table. For example, “It seems like we’re
eliminating barriers to innovation is to kill and beliefs perpetuate themselves all in agreement here. Are there any oth-
a stupid rule. because we’re all running so fast that we er perspectives we might be missing?”
I would love to take credit for this idea. don’t take the time to question whether • Have people come up with the worst
But in the interest of full disclosure, it our assumptions are still valid in today’s possible solution to a problem. Then turn
belongs to Futurethink, an innovation world. Over time, they become internal it around and see if any of those ideas
consulting and training firm that helps or- “rules” and limiting constraints that apply. Trade problems. If marketing is
ganizations think differently, drive change guide decisions and actions on an indi- struggling to resolve an issue, let pur-
and achieve success. vidual and organizational level. chasing take a stab at solving it.
A great idea is a great idea no matter Unfortunately, most of these rules Regardless of the technique, the underly-
who comes up with it, and this one de- center around what we can’t or shouldn’t ing principle is to stop taking your rules
serves passing on. do rather than what we could or should. for granted just because they’ve been
Implementing “kill a stupid rule” is sim- As a result, they act as constraints on our around a while. Whether you kill a stupid
ple. At your next team meeting, ask, “If you thinking. They shut down the creative rule or merely prod, poke, annoy, pester
could get rid of any rule in this company thinking process and close our minds to or harass it, pausing to challenge your
– either kill it or change it – what would new ideas and possibilities. assumptions will help you see things
you do and why?” Don’t worry about if My approach is to encourage people differently and give new life to your
the boss won’t like it or whether it might to pause on a regular basis and take a innovation efforts.
cost too much. Just what would you kill measured look at their thought bubbles A Call to Action: Identify one rule you
or change, and why? Then sit back and let and assumptions. Killing one stupid rule will kill in your organization and why.
people throw out ideas for 10 minutes. is one technique for doing that. A great idea is a great idea no matter
Next, choosing from all the ideas present- Here are a few more from my new book who comes up with it, and this one de-
ed, have everyone write down on a sticky Using Your Brain to Win. serves passing on.
note the one rule they would most like to To shift your brain out of “stuck” mode Implementing “kill a stupid rule” is sim-
kill or change first. Group the sticky notes and get it used to considering new pos- ple. At your next team meeting, ask, “If
together on a white board, depending sibilities: you could get rid of any rule in this com-
on whether they would be hard or easy • Ask “What if…?” questions. For exam- pany – either kill it or change it – what
to implement and would have a low or ple, what if our “right” answer is wrong? would you do and why?” 1sticky notes
high impact on the organization.  Sort out What if this “rule” no longer applied to together on a white board, depending on
the rule changes that would be easy to our business or industry? What if we whether they would be hard or easy to
implement and have a high impact on the could change this rule; what would we implement and would have a low or high
organization. Then ask the team: what do do differently? impact on the organization.  way things
we need to do to make this happen? • Change your perspective by putting on are supposed to be. And that’s where
Interestingly, you may find that many different stakeholder hats. Do customers the notion of “kill a stupid rule” aligns
of the “rules” people want to kill aren’t agree with your unspoken thoughts and with what I am constantly helping clients
actually rules. Instead, they often turn out assumptions? Your employees? Your with.
to be assumptions, thought bubbles, or vendors? Would someone outside your
internal messages that people tell them- industry see your rule as necessary or as

http://www.inventmagazine.online 19
NEW GIZMOS
& GADGETS
SHOW STOPPERS AT CES

Sonocent Audio Notetaker, making sense of recorded inter-


views and meetings

If you are transcribing, you can type into either to two


text panes, one of which is called Reference and the other
just Text. When you are typing in one of these panes, you
An ultra-high fuel economy car was unveiled can use keyboard shortcuts to control the audio, such as
at a satellite event during the the Consumer Ctrl+Space for play/pause, Ctrl+\ to skip back, and Ctrl+/ to
Electronics Show in Las Vegas. A startup skip forward. The Reference and Text panes are function-
called Elio Motors is preparing to launch ally identical, but let you keep two different types of notes
a $6,800 car in 2015 that boats impressive with one recording. There is also an image pane, which can
efficiency - up to 84 miles per gallon for include images, PDFs or PowerPoint presentations.
highway driving (49 miles per gallon for
urban driving).

The all-new supercar represents Ford’s commitment to inno-


vation through performance. Its advanced, lightweight carbon
fiber composites as well as other technologies will help serve
the company’s entire product lineup, and will be on display at
the show.“Ford GT is the ultimate execution of an enthusiast
supercar – we are honored Ford GT has been named the Offi-
cial Vehicle of CES,” said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president,
Global Product Development. “Ford GT includes innovations
and technologies that can be applied broadly across Ford’s
future product portfolio – another proof point that Ford con-
tinues raising the performance bar while ultimately improving
vehicles for all of our customers.”
A next-generation, 600-plus-horsepower twin-turbocharged
EcoBoost V6 engine demonstrates remarkable efficiency – a
key attribute of its endurance racing-derived powertrain. The
engine is mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transaxle that
provides for near-instantaneous gear changes and exceptional
driver control.
Aerodynamic efficiency is at the heart of the design of the
Ford GT, with every slope and shape designed to minimize
drag. An active rear spoiler is keyed to both speed and driver
input, deploying and adjusting its height and/or pitch angle
depending on conditions.
An F1-style steering wheel integrates all necessary driver
controls, creating a stalkless steering column that allows
uncluttered access to the transmission paddle-shift controls.
A fully digital and configurable instrument cluster provides a
wealth of driver-focused data. The display is configurable for
multiple driving environments and different driving modes.
Beginning production in 2016, Ford GT arrives in select
global markets to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Ford GT
race cars placing 1-2-3 at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans.

20 http://www.inventmagazine.online