Friday, February 28, 2014

Pinterest now lets you create as many secret boards as you want

Pinterest today announced everyone can now create an unlimited number of secret boards. For those who don’t know, secret boards let you keep track of holiday gifts, plan a special event, or work on a project you aren’t yet ready to share with the rest of the world.

2014022801 Pinterest now lets you create as many secret boards as you want

In November 2012, Pinterest launched secret boards and we noted at the time that while you can keep them to yourself, you can also invite family and friends to pin with you, contrary to the name. That was just a test, however, and you could only have three secret boards in total. That limitation has now been lifted.

Image Credit: Alessandra Favetto



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How does your fitness tracker know when you’re asleep?

sleep 520x245 How does your fitness tracker know when youre asleep?

Belle Beth Cooper is the co-founder of Hello Code. This post originally appeared on the Exist blog and was republished with permission.


Sleep tracking is a big part of what we do at Exist. We currently have Jawbone UP and Fitbit integration, so we can import sleep data from trackers in both of these lines.

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We’re also planning to let users choose to optimise either sleep or activity using Exist, so we want to know as much as we can about how these devices track sleep and how accurate they are.

existpeek correlation 520x233 How does your fitness tracker know when youre asleep?

I dived into some research to work out what’s going on when you set your Jawbone UP or Fitbit to sleep mode. Both devices use accelerometers to track your movements, including the speed and direction of your motion.

This is how they track your activity during the day, and how they tell when you’re asleep.

When you set your Fitbit or Jawbone UP device to “sleep mode,” it monitors your movements. When you sync your device the next morning, the software translates those movements into sleep data.

If you’ve ever edited your sleep times the next morning, you’ll have seen a glimpse into how this works—data about your movement during “awake” time gets re-analysed when you tell the software you were actually asleep then, and you then see it charted as sleep data.

This method of using a device to track movements in order to measure sleep is called actigraphy.

What is actigraphy?

Actigraphy is often done in sleep studies using an “actigraph” device—similar to a Fitbit or Jawbone UP, it’s usually a device worn on the wrist that tracks movement while you’re sleeping. Software then translates those movements into periods of sleep and wake.

For people with sleep disorders or general sleep disruptions, actigraphy is a convenient way to have their sleep patterns studied by a clinic without having to sleep in the lab. An actigraph device can be worn at home, and isn’t usually too uncomfortable—most of them look like a watch:

actigraph How does your fitness tracker know when youre asleep?

An actigraph can also be worn 24/7 and track sleepiness during the day, based on movement. Thus, actigraphy might be used for sleep studies where convenience is important.

Generally, sleep researchers use polysomnography, or PSG, to study sleep in a lab. This is known as the “gold standard” for measuring sleep.

This means that sleep researchers have agreed that PSG is the definitive way to measure sleep, and most studies on the accuracy of actigraphy compare it to PSG data.

A PSG test involves sleeping in a lab where your brain waves can be monitored by an EEG test, where electrodes on your scalp measure your brain waves. This can be inconvenient, but is more accurate.

eeg 520x362 How does your fitness tracker know when youre asleep?

Cool fact: PSG tracking is really inconvenient in space, so actigraphy is sometimes used to easily track the sleep of astronauts! Here’s a picture of an actigraph device used in a NASA-funded, Harvard University study of scientists living on Martian time, with a fake watch face painted on it:

mars 520x345 How does your fitness tracker know when youre asleep?

Research into actigraphy

Most research into actigraphy has used a purpose-built actigraph device, rather than a Fitbit or Jawbone UP (although a Fitbit was included in this study) and has been focused on measuring the accuracy against a PSG test.

Study results have varied, but for the most part the consensus is that actigraphy is generally accurate enough to track sleep in healthy adults with “normal” sleep patterns.

Problems arise when your sleep is disrupted—for instance, if you have a sleep disorder or you just have disrupted sleep on a regular basis. The more disrupted your sleep, the less accurate actigraphy will be at tracking it.

Mostly this is because actigraphy just tracks one thing: movement. Sleep researchers know that there’s much more to accurate sleep data—most importantly, brain waves and eye movements are required to assess sleep phases.

In an article on sleep tracking accuracy, Michael Scullin, a post-doctoral fellow at Emory University School of Medicine’s Department of Neurology was quoted as saying this:

Consumers should not expect that these devices will be able to distinguish between sleep stages because these devices rely on movements, whereas sleep stages are defined primarily by brain activity.

Which means if you’re using a fitness tracker that claims to tell you how long you spend in each sleep stage, it’s probably not very accurate after all.

As far as time asleep and sleep quality, actigraphy devices generally have a high margin of error. They either under- or overestimate time asleep.

If you’ve tried one of these, you’ve probably noticed that either it thinks you’re asleep when you lie still in bed, or it fails to realise you’re awake when you start moving around.

My co-founder Josh has found this with his Fitbit One, which has both a “regular” sleep mode and a “sensitive” sleep mode. In regular mode, his sleep time is overestimated, while sensitive mode underestimates how much time he’s asleep for.

Wake time has been found to be the most tricky for actigraphs to get right, since periods of no movements will almost always register as sleep. So if you don’t move “enough” while you’re awake, you might have more sleep time recorded than is actually accurate.

In Josh’s case, when he lies still, trying to fall asleep, that time is often counted as if he is already sleeping.

Another issue with using actigraphy is that it’s open to user error. For instance:

  • not setting (or turning off, if you use a Fitbit) sleep mode at the right time
  • forgetting to wear your tracker at all
  • sleeping in a position that prevents movement of the arm your tracker is on
  • or even breathing movements that register with your tracker and count as time you were awake

Usually, wearing a tracker on your trunk (clipped to your waistband) or your ankle will pick up fewer movements. If you’re finding that your tracker overestimates your time asleep, you could try switching the position, especially if you have a clip-on style tracker like Josh’s Fitbit One.

Lastly, it’s important to know that the software used to analyse your movement data makes a big difference to how accurate your sleep stats are. There are a few different ways of analysing movement data, and some devices employ multiple methods for a more accurate reading.

In addition, different methods of analysis might be more accurate. For instance, having a lower threshold for movements (i.e. fewer movements required to count as awake time) is a more accurate way of predicting time asleep.

This could be how Fitbit’s sensitive sleep mode works—just a small movement counts as time awake, so the “time asleep” stats are usually spot on, but restless time asleep is often counted as “awake time.”

Having a higher threshold (i.e. you have to move a lot to register time awake) is better for predicting awake time, but leads to lower accuracy in tracking of sleep time. Fitbit’s regular sleep mode counts a lot more of Josh’s time in bed as him being asleep, since he has to move a lot to tell it he’s awake. This means the “awake time” data is right more often, but his sleep time is overestimated.

Should you trust it?

So what does all this mean? Should you trust your fitness tracker to know when you’re asleep or not?

I’m no sleep expert but from what sleep researchers are saying and the results of studies into actigraphy, it seems like it’s okay to trust it as a general guide of your sleep time and efficiency, so long as you generally sleep well.

If you have (or think you have) a sleep disorder, it’s not a good idea to trust actigraphy. In that case you really want to visit a sleep clinic and get a PSG test done.

In terms of different sleep phases like deep sleep and REM sleep, I haven’t come across a sleep researcher yet who is willing to vouch for accuracy in sleep phase prediction based on movement alone. So it seems like we should be using the overall sleep time as a guide and not giving much credence to supposed sleep phases our trackers are measuring.



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McDonald's Wants to Run More Tests on 'Build-Your-Own-Burger' Concept

We'll soon see if McDonald's can keep fast food speedy and cheap while giving customers customization options.


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Want Clients to Know You Before a Pitch? Write a Book.

Being an author can help you expand your network of customers by making you an authority on a topic.


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Is Microsoft Working on a Free Version of Windows 8.1?

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Windows 8 (later 8.1) has struggled to capture the interest of PC owners, but now Microsoft appears ready to make them an offer they can't refuse: a free upgrade. The company may be working on a version of Windows 8.1, which currently starts at $119.99, that costs very little or nothing to install.

There's a catch of course. This specific version of Windows, rumored to be called "Windows 8.1 With Bing," would have deeper hooks into Microsoft services than your typical Surface tablet. The details aren't known, but presumably the general idea would be akin to Amazon's Kindles With Special Offers, which display ads on the device's screensaver and sometimes at the bottom of the screen. Read more...

More about Microsoft, Windows, Windows 8, Tech, and Apps Software

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What It's Like to Be a Red Carpet Reporter

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The fashion, the celebrities, the photographers — red carpets have an aura of glamour that seems all play and no work, but being an entertainment reporter is much more than asking, "Who are you wearing?"

Mashable's associate entertainment editor Brian Hernandez, a veteran of awards show season, takes you behind the scenes of the red carpet to show what goes into covering Hollywood's biggest night

Brian's previously been on red carpets at the Grammys, Emmys, Golden Globes, MTV Video Music Awards, among others. He's currently at the 2014 Oscars, so be sure to follow him on Instagram and Twitter for updates Read more...

More about Viral Videos, Entertainment, Video, Mashable Videos, and 2014 Oscars

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If Cute Little Kids Starred in Best Picture Nominees

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Bradley Cooper donning hair curlers in American Hustle isn't exactly the actor's cutest screen moment. But a 3-year-old in hair curlers? Completely adorable.

Maggie Storino's Tumblr Don't Call Me Oscar stars her 3-year-old daughter Sophia dressed as the leads in each Best Picture nominee. The playful shots also feature Stornio's 2-year-old daughter Sadie as supporting actress

Storino told Mashable that because she and her daughters play dress up every day, primping the girls to look like movie stars was nothing out of the ordinary Read more...

More about Entertainment, Pics, Tumblr, Film, and Oscars

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Guess Who Doesn’t Care That You Went to Harvard?

The Latest on Hiring

Business Leaders Say Knowledge Trumps College Pedigree

Gallup

Sorry, Ivy League-educated dilettantes: While that framed degree may look mighty fine on your wall, most business leaders aren't particularly keen on your academic credentials when hiring, at least according to a new survey from Gallup. Consider the proportion of respondents who ranked each of the following factors as “very important”: knowledge in the relevant field, 84%; applied skills in the field, 79%; college major, 28%; and place of education, just 9%. Additionally:

+ Everyone, including Gallup, points to Google when discussing the knowledge-over-pedigree issue; Thomas Friedman's recent column on the company's five hiring attributes is generating a lot of buzz, though there's a big distinction between "knowledge" and "expertise," the latter of which Google isn't interested in at all.

+ This brief write-up from Quartz reveals a related, and startling, fact: 96% of college provosts say students are prepared for the job market. Yet only 14% of the public and 11% of business leaders agree. 




It All Started With Magnets

Buckyballs vs. The United States of America

Inc.

Craig Zucker is an entrepreneur prone to making suggestive advertising puns about a simple product that made him millions — tiny, round magnets that stick together to form interesting shapes. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, or CPSC, is charged with protecting consumers against dangerous products. The CPSC decided that Zucker's Buckyballs are just that after several children suffered lasting intestinal damage from swallowing them. Zucker, in turn, provided clear warning labels on the packaging and didn't market his product to children. But that didn't stop the incidents, or the controversy. 

The contentious litigation that's ensued — the CPSC eventually sued Zucker specifically, which is almost unheard-of — brings up complicated questions that bridge safety and entrepreneurship. "Every time a new product like Buckyballs arrives," writes Burt Helm, "a decision must be made. Do we keep this new thing and warn against the dangers — like we do with balloons, trampolines, and plastic bags? Or do we banish it?" 




They Don't Involve Your Ego

Leadership Skills for the Year 2030

The Washington Post

Perceiving that businesspeople are worried about such things as the accelerating pace of change, the consulting firm Hay Group did a study of the megatrends that will shape leadership over the next dozen-plus years, and in so doing they gave businesspeople plenty of new things to worry about. Such as: Are you too egocentric to succeed as a leader in the future? In a Q&A, a regional director, Georg Vielmetter, explains that what will be needed is altocentrism — focusing on others, being emotionally open, using empathy to lead, and not putting yourself at the center of things. You'll also want to develop personal relationships with crucial individuals, because the future will be all about networks. It's a world that will fit well with the attitudes of millennials, who are less interested than previous generations in managing people. That's perfect: The leaderless company, not-led by people who don't want to lead. —Andy O'Connell




Buses vs. Trains

Are Women 'Forced' to Work Closer to Home?

The World Bank

In the "This is fascinating but we don't quite know what it means yet or what to do about it" category comes new research from Shomik Mehndiratta at the World Bank: While the average commute time for men and women in Buenos Aires is almost identical — 47.47 and 47.10 minutes, respectively – a closer look reveals that men travel at faster speeds than women. This means that men cover larger distances, and, presumably, have broader swaths of employment opportunities, particularly compared to the women in the survey who have children. In fact, when researchers mapped their findings, they found that "in parts of the city, men with children have access to over 80% more jobs than their female counterparts." 




What Are You Great At?

Shedding the Shackles of Judgment for Better Decision-Making

Insead

If you've been piling on the self-criticism in your efforts to get ahead, you're probably on the wrong track. Although many of us believe, deep down, that negative self-talk is what keeps us in line, research shows the opposite, writes Schon Beechler of Insead. It's the "learner" in us, rather than the "judger," who fuels our success, and we can choose which of these selves to invoke. Instead of looking at what you might be doing wrong or whether you're good enough for your job, ask, "What am I great at? What works? What are my choices?" Questions such as these help turn off the punishing self-talk that strips you of confidence. —Andy O'Connell 




BONUS BITS

... Because It's True

Fourth-Grader Named Jackson to Someday Fire You (The Onion)
America's Gargantuan Share of Global Wealth, in One Map (Time)
Science Explores Our Magical Belief in the Power of Celebrity (Smithsonian Magazine)






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Moov Fitness Tracker Passes Its $40K Crowdfunding Goal In 90 Minutes

Yesterday, ex-Apple engineer Nikola Hu and friends launched a crowdfunding campaign around Moov, the next generation in wearable fitness tracking. The device, which lets you accurately measure your form during different sporting activities like running, swimming, and cardio boxing, has already picked up some steam with backers. According to the team, Moov reached its $40k crowdfunding goal in… Read More


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BBM is getting photo sharing in multi-person chats, support for sharing larger files, and bigger emoticons

BlackBerry today announced a few new features BBM users can expect. Although it wouldn’t say when the new version would arrive, the company revealed BBM would soon support photo sharing in multi-person chats, larger file sizes, and bigger emoticons.

Up until now, BBM’s file sharing size limit was 6MB, but BlackBerry is increasing that limit to 16MB in the next release, so users can send bigger pictures, larger documents, and longer videos. BlackBerry didn’t detail much about the size of BBM’s emoticons, but claimed it was a change made “after feedback from you, our customers.”

See also – BBM for Android and iOS gets Find Friends feature to help automatically add existing users, invite others and BBM for iOS, Android updated with BBM Voice, Channels, location sharing and more



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Online food delivery service GrubHub files for $100 million IPO

GrubHub, the online food delivery service that merged with Seamless last May, publicly filed for an IPO today with the SEC.

The maximum aggregate offering price – or the amount it’s hoping to raise – has been locked at $100 million, in addition to a $12,880 registration fee.

Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that GrubHub was filing for an IPO confidentially – made possible through the JOBS Act for companies earning less than $1 billion in revenue per year – but now the details of the IPO are publicly accessible. GrubHub has requested to list its common stock on the New York Stock Exchange under the abbreviated symbol ‘GRUB’.

SEC (Via TechCrunch)

Image Credit: Guillaume Meyer/AFP/Getty Images



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GrubHub Files For $100 Million IPO

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GrubHub filed paperwork with the SEC on Friday for a $100 million public offering.

The online food delivery company, which previously went by the name GrubHub Seamless, has applied to trade with the ticker "GRUB" on the New York Stock Exchange.

According to the filing, GrubHub posted profits of $6.7 million on revenue of $137 million in 2013. While revenue is on the rise, the company's net income has declined rapidly in recent years, which may prove to be a red flag for potential investors

"While our revenue has grown in recent periods, this growth rate may not be sustainable and we may not realize sufficient revenue to maintain profitability," the company notes in its filing. "We may incur significant losses in the future for a number of reasons, including insufficient growth in the number of restaurants and diners on our platform, increasing competition, as well as other risks described in this prospectus, and we may encounter unforeseen expenses, difficulties, complications and delays and other unknown factors." Read more...

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Backed By $10 Million, Flyby Messenger Is The First Consumer App To Use Image Recognition Tech From Google’s “Project Tango”

Flyby, a new messaging application that lets you share text and recorded videos attached to objects in the real world, is the first consumer-facing app to use the image recognition capabilities found in Google’s “Project Tango.” That project, for those unfamiliar, involves an Android-based phone with advanced 3D sensors that’s capable of building visual maps of the world… Read More


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