Ira Wilsker's archive

For the past few decades, an annual Thanksgiving Day event in my house was to get up early, and bring in the log-sized newspaper weighted down with countless Black Friday sale books. Admittedly, sometimes we would go out late Wednesday night to get the early edition of the paper at a local convenience store. The six of us would scour the ads, mixing wishful thinking with a shopping strategy intended to maximize the bargains we could purchase at the local stores.

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If you have a smartphone or tablet, there is about a 75 percent chance that it is running some form of the Android operating system. As of last year, the latest figures available, the installed user base of Android powered devices, both existing and newly sold, is more than Windows, Mac OS X, and Apple iOS devices combined. More than 81 percent of all smartphones sold in 2013 were running the Android operating system. For those who may be unaware, Android is an open source Google product, based on the established Linux kernel.

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About a year ago, I wrote about my then new favorite real-time smart phone road routing program Waze. At the time, Google had recently purchased Waze from its Israeli developer for over a billion dollars, a princely sum that the developer generously shared with his handful of employees.

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Wilsker

Listening to the news can often be disturbing, especially when we hear stories about massive password thefts. Recently, there were widely broadcast reports 5 million Gmail passwords were stolen, and available online to anyone wishing to use them for nefarious purposes (money.cnn.com/2014/09/10/technology/security/gmail-hack/index.html).

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I often see people walking along a street, in a parking lot, or other location, who are busily using their smart phones, often oblivious to their surroundings. In law enforcement and the military, it is emphasized that individuals need to have “situational awareness” and be fully cognizant about what is going on around them, especially potential threats, at all times. Pedestrians who have their noses deeply buried in their phones are typically unaware of what is going on around them, making them easy targets for those miscreants who may wish to do them harm.

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