SEARCH

Entries in Online (43)

Sunday
Apr212013

Online Fundraising Raises Money Quickly for Boston Bombing Victims

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- The recovery process for many victims of the Boston Marathon bombing will be slow, arduous and expensive. Numerous victims suffered severe injuries to their lower limbs, with multiple patients having one or more amputations.

But the victims will not be without financial help as they recover.

The public outpouring of support to Boston after the bombings has also translated monetarily, with millions of dollars in donations for victims already made. More than $10 million has been raised for the victims and their families through the One Fund Boston. More than $1 million more has been raised through individual online fundraising sites for victims.

The creation of the One Fund Boston was announced Tuesday by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. The fund is designed to streamline donations into one account, which will then be divvied up to victims and their families.

"I am humbled by the outpouring of support by the business community and individuals who are united in their desire to help," Patrick said in a statement. "At moments like this, we are one state, one city, and one people."

Kenneth Feinberg, who also oversaw the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund and the victim funds for the Aurora, Colo., shooting, has been tapped to administer the project.

Multiple corporations have pledged to donate, including the Boston Red Sox, the Boston Bruins and Bank of America. Adidas has pledged to donate all profits from Boston Marathon merchandise to the fund.

While donations to the One Fund Boston are still coming in, it is unclear when the money will be distributed to victims and their families.

For immediate access to funds, family and friends of victims have started using online fundraising sites to help with mounting medical bills and other expenses. Websites such as GoFundMe.com and GiveForward.com allow users to raise money very quickly and are paid out at the end of the scheduled fundraising drive.

Brooke Gibbs used GoFundMe.com to raise more than $300,000 from 7,906 users in just three days for Jeff Bauman Jr. A graphic photograph of Bauman, who lost both of his lower legs in the bombing, made headlines after the attack.

"We want to help in every which way we possibly can to get Bauman back on track as soon as possible," Gibbs wrote in a post. "Medical bills are going to start rolling in, let's get a head start on helping out Bauman and his family!"

According to a study conducted by the Society of Human Resource Management in 2011, prosthetics are covered by 70 percent to 75 percent of employer-sponsored insurance plans. For those who are not covered by insurance, prosthetics can cost approximately $40,000 per limb.

Gibb's fundraising goal for Bauman is $1 million.

Alyssa Carter also used the site to create a page for Celeste and Sydney Corcoran, a mother and daughter injured the blast. Sydney and Celeste Corcoran were both standing near the finish line when the bombs went off. Celeste Corcoran lost both of her lower legs and Sydney Corcoran had shrapnel embedded in her legs.

"There is a long road ahead -- both physically and emotionally -- and we're hoping to relieve some of the financial burden by raising funds in their name," Carter said in a post.

The fundraising page for the mother and daughter had raised more than $450,000 from a goal of $750,000 as of Saturday.

On GiveForward.com, a dedicated Boston Support Page let users choose between supporting 13 families affected by the bombing. Collectively they have currently raised $719,957.

The sites also have staff members that watch the fundraisers and contact users to ensure the websites are not used to support scams. According to Nate St. Pierre, the director of communications at GiveForward.com, the website has cancelled about 20 attempted fundraisers.

Both websites deduct money from transactions, the website GoFundMe.com deducts 5 percent from every donation and GiveForward.com deducts 7 percent from every transaction.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Mar022013

Outbox: New Service Turns Snail Mail into Email

Outbox(NEW YORK) -- Do you still rely on snail mail? Outbox is a new startup that wants to help you “manage your postal mail like email.”

The service will send what it calls “unpostmen” to your home mailbox to collect your mail for you. Outbox will then scan each letter, postcard, bill, check or piece of junk mail as an image file that gets uploaded to your personal online Outbox account. Outbox currently offers access to its online mail application by computer or iPad, but says Android and iPhone support should be available sometime in the first quarter of this year.

With Outbox’s online mail application, the users “control [their mail] in any way they see fit,” Will Davis, co-founder of Outbox, told ABC News. “They can store it digitally, share it, or even request the physical item for delivery. If they elect to shred the paper, or do not request it after 30 days, we shred and recycle the item on their behalf.”

The service even offers to help fight snail mail spam. With the “Unsubscribe to Sender” option, Outbox will send a digital copy of any junk mail back to the senders and ask them to remove your address from their lists.

Things like packages and magazines will be left at your doorstep, the same way Outbox handles bundles or “requested” pieces of mail.

For now, Outbox only provides service to residential mailboxes. Though the company hopes soon to include P.O. boxes, there are no plans to add service to business addresses.

So what about locked mailboxes or gated residencies? Outbox says, “We can replicate just about every key… So if there’s any locks standing in between us and your mail, simply send us a picture [of the key] upon registration, and we’ll do our best to service you.”

That may sounds a little crafty for some people’s tastes, but Davis asks us to think simply about it. “Once a user elects us as their mail agent, they empower us to take over the collection and management of their postal mail. Not unlike having a friend or relative pick up your mail on your behalf, you elect Outbox to do this for you.”

The full service will cost users $4.99 a month. For that price, an “unpostman” in a Toyota Prius will come to your house for collection and delivery “every other day.” Mail is uploaded to the user’s account on the same day it’s collected.

Outbox was hatched in 2011. Davis traces the company’s origin back to a thought of, “Wouldn’t it be cool to have a Dropbox for my snail mail?” He, co-founder Evan Baehr and others began conducting a closed, invitation-only beta test in Austin, Texas last year.

The company says it hopes to be in every major American city in coming years.  So far it has just over 20 employees.

This new way of handling mail comes as the U.S. Postal Service struggles with losses and cutbacks in delivery schedules.

“There is a future for mail that is compelling, we think,” said Davis. “The future of mail is about the experience and what you can do with the mail — stay on top of important things, stay connected to loved ones, email it to others, share it online, take immediate action online, etc. We want people to be excited about mail again — not dread it.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jun272012

For Many, Being on the Phone Means Being on the Internet

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Using your mobile phone to only make calls is so landline.

The latest Pew Internet & American Life Project on cellphone use reveals that 88 percent of U.S. adults now own some kind of mobile device and 55 percent of them use their phone to go online.

In fact, 17 percent say that most of their Internet browsing is done on the phone and some admit they use it exclusively to get online, forgoing computers and other devices.

According to Pew, 45 percent of adults ages 18 to 29 do the majority of their browsing on their cellphones while 51 percent of African-Americans and 43 of Latinos rely on their phones go online.

In the phone survey of 2,254 adults 18 and older, the Pew report concluded, “Cellphones are convenient, always available -- 64 percent of cell-mostly Internet users mention factors related to convenience or the always-available nature of mobile phones when asked for the main reason why they do most of their online browsing on their cellphone.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr252012

Facebook Beefs Up Security With New Anti-Virus Marketplace

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Facebook has partnered with anti-virus software companies, including Microsoft, McAfee, TrendMicro, Sophos and Symantec, and is announcing Wednesday two major security steps.

Facebook will now incorporate the malicious URL databases from these security software companies into its URL blacklist systems. That means that whenever any of the 845 million people who use Facebook click a link they will be protected by this back-end system, and hopefully blocked from going to a malicious or unsafe site.

“We are excited to be partnering with leaders in the anti-virus industry to better protect our users both on and off of Facebook,” Facebook’s Chief Security Officer, Joe Sullivan, told ABC News. “Starting today, we will be incorporating the combined intelligence of these vendors to Facebook’s existing database of malicious URLs, and offering a wide selection of anti-virus software to our users.”

That part about offering anti-virus software is the second major security move Facebook is making. Facebook is rolling out a new AV (Anti-Virus) Marketplace for Facebook users. Any Facebook user will now be able to download free anti-virus software from Microsoft, McAfee, TrendMicro, Sophos, or Symantec at on.fb.me/FBAVMarketplace. Facebook had an existing program like this with McAfee, but Facebook is putting more emphasis now on these offerings with a dedicated page.

Facebook and its software partners will provide six months of protection.  While these programs help with more than URL protection and Facebook activity, Facebook maintains that this will help protect users on and off the website. The AV Marketplace is now up and running on Facebook.com.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr112012

Survey: Most Worry Online Companies Exploit Their Privacy

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(YONKERS, N.Y.) -- The worry that personal information is freely sold or shared by companies without permission can give computer users pause in going online.

Consumer Reports says in a new survey that 71 percent of Americans feel their online privacy is being exploited in some fashion, while just over half believe companies needlessly hold onto their information even when these business have no use for it.

Perhaps we have no one to blame but ourselves based on Consumer Reports’ finding that a mere two out of 10 respondents say they “sometimes” or “always” read online privacy policies.  In fact, just five percent always take the time to do it.

Over 50 percent admit they never bother to read the fine print, with 42 percent complaining that the privacy policies are just too long to plow through.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar292012

How 'Charlie Bit Me,' the Most-Watched YouTube Clip Ever, Changed a Family's Fortunes

YouTube(LONDON) -- The rambunctious boys spinning wildly on the chair in the family living room look like any over-energized kids, until the one doing the spinning opens his month.

"Charlie, get off me," says 8-year-old Harry Davies-Carr.

But "Charlie" comes out as "Chaw-leeee" and suddenly there's a ring of familiarity.

Harry and his brother, 6-year-old Charlie Davies-Carr, are the stars of "Charlie Bit Me," the most-watched viral video on the Internet. The oh-so-cute video posted in 2007 runs just 56 seconds and shows the two boys -- then ages one and three -- playing in a chair. Harry tempts his little brother with a finger. Charlie promptly bites it and laughs mischievously.

A sweet little moment of innocence from Thames Valley, England, that has been viewed more than 436 million times on YouTube.

Their dad, Howard Davies-Carr, posted the video five years ago to share with the boys' godfather, who lives in Colorado.

"To me, it was just a lovely moment," he says.

Howard shared the link with family and friends. After a few weeks it had about 200 views. He let it languish for a few months.

"I went to YouTube to take it down," he remembers. "There was no need for it to stay on YouTube any longer. At that point, I realized that it had a few thousand views and then pretty much every day it was almost doubling in the number of views it was having, which I thought was rather strange. You know, why are all these people watching our video?"

What Howard Davies-Carr was witnessing was -- at the time -- a new Internet phenomenon: the viral video. With thousands of copies of the clip rocketing through cyberspace, he realized he had lost control of a private family moment. The genie was out of the bottle.

"So I had to make a decision: Is this something that we accept is us and do something more with or is it something we just park and say, 'That's really nothing to do with us,' and then everybody else will be exploiting it and making money from it?"

It wasn't until viewership hit 50 million that Howard discovered he could partner with YouTube to share ad revenue.

It's like they won the lottery. "Charlie Bit Me" has brought his family -- now four boys -- close to half a million dollars, all of it going to private schooling and eventually a college fund for the kids.

Their parents have resisted offers of American talk shows and public appearances and the boys remain oblivious to their inadvertent but enduring fame.

Five years later, they are sitting in that same chair, squirming and easily distracted. I ask if they know how many people have seen their little video.

"Three million," offers Harry.

"Eight million," adds Charlie, changing his answer quickly. "I mean 800 million." And he giggles.

It was the viral success of "Charlie Bit Me" that inspired London lawyer and music producer Damian Collier to start what he says is the world's first viral video management company. He calls it Viral Spiral.

"I call them 'accidental content owners' because 95 percent of them have found themselves in this position by mistake. They've uploaded a video to YouTube and there they are all of a sudden owning a valuable piece of copyright."

Viral Spiral has placed snippets of "Charlie Bit Me" in ads for Sprint, Google and Tripit. A Charlie iPhone app is in the works and so are Charlie children's books.

Howard Davies-Carr says people who own videos that unexpectedly go viral need to be careful.

"There are an awful lot of unscrupulous people out there who will try and take advantage of people that don't understand what they have."

Other owners of viral videos are catching on and cashing in, too. A Brazilian bank used a video of baby ripping up paper to promote paperless banking. An Internet security company uses laughing babies to promote protection. A contact lens company uses a cute wide-eyed baby to promote its lenses. And then there's Fenton the deer-chasing dog in London -- soon to be the subject of a children's book.

"Generally, we find that animals and babies the world over are popular," says Collier. "Those tend to be the videos that people gravitate towards, but there is no science to it, in truth."

And no viral video has come close to the viewership of "Charlie Bit Me."

Maybe it's Charlie's devilish laugh at the end that has won the world over.

"I don't quite understand why people keep watching it and why they find it so exciting, but people do," says Davies-Carr. "You know, people leave lovely comments back to us saying we watch this video almost every day."

He says he and his wife, Shelley, struggle with balancing their children's accidental good fortune with the pitfalls of fame.

"It's difficult. It's something I probably worry about every day," he says."If people want to watch them, that's great, but we've never gone out to say to people, you know, 'You should do something with the children. They should be in films or they should be models or this kind of stuff.' That's of no interest to us at all.

"When the boys get to 18, I'd like them to think back and think, 'O.K., I've got something in my life which is more than just what I was when I did the 'Charlie Bit Me' video.'"

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar212012

Sex, Alcohol and Showers: What Would You Give Up for the Internet?

John Foxx/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- Just what would you give up if the Internet was taken away from you? For some, sex, alcohol, showers and chocolate are on the list, according to a report by the Boston Consulting Group.

The study, which is focused on the importance of the Internet on the economy, predicts that by 2016 the Internet will account for 5.2 percent of GDP for G-20 countries. However, it’s the supporting facts that show how dependent consumers are on the Internet.

The researchers found that 21 percent of Americans would give up sex for Internet connectivity. Seventy-three percent would give up alcohol, 69 percent would give up coffee, and 77 percent would sacrifice chocolate rather than give up the Internet for the year.

Interestingly, U.S. consumers also perceive the cost of the Internet to be $3,000 a year, even though most spend only $472 on applications and services.

The Boston Consulting Group provides information about all G-20 countries in its report and interviewed 1,000 users in each location.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Mar122012

Twitter Acquires Blogging Service Posterous

SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Twitter, the popular social networking site that lets users share updates in just 140 characters, has just announced that it has acquired Posterous, a micro-blogging service.

The terms of the acquisition are not being disclosed. Both companies announced the acquisition on their respective company blogs.

Posterous Spaces, the company’s blogging platform, was an early competitor to Tumblr and allows users to share text, video and pictures with others. According to the post on Posterous’ website, the product “will remain up and running without disruption. We will give users ample notice if we make any changes to the service.”

A similar message is conveyed in Twitter’s post, although it mentions there will be instructions on how to back up content in the coming weeks.

“Acquisitions have given us people and technology that have enabled us to more quickly build a better Twitter for you,” it is also said.

Lots of hypotheses about what Twitter will do with the service are swirling around the tech industry, but there is general agreement that the message is that Twitter is looking to expand its feature set.

“It appears Twitter is looking to evolve from the status update service it started as to an information service optimized for sharing and consuming information and content,” Gartner research director Michael Gartenberg said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb082012

Creating a Smarter Reality Show with Entrepreneurial Ideas

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BOULDER, Colo.) -- A group of young social innovators with ideas that might change the world spent three months living in a house having their lives taped 24/7 for an online reality show.

It's called the Unreasonable Institute and was created during a light-bulb moment by Daniel Epstein, along with fellow University of Colorado alumni Teju Ravilochan and Tyler Hartung.

"We're very intentional about not making this into reality TV. We wanted this to be real TV," Epstein said. "We want to be showing the struggles, the ups and downs and the wins of entrepreneurship."

Competition was stiff. More than 300 people applied from 65 countries to attend the 32-day program nestled in the foothills of Boulder, Colo., and 26 were selected.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

"The Unreasonable Institute is an international accelerator for early-stage entrepreneurs who are wielding entrepreneurship as a mechanism for combating social challenges, and they're trying to take those to scale," Epstein said.

The institute's name comes from a quotation by Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw: "All progress depends on the unreasonable man." But these entrepreneurs who are selected believe they can realistically affect the lives of at least 1 million people.

Some of the ideas: utilizing worms to increase agricultural yield; providing solar cookstoves to rural regions in the Himalayan Mountains; or tackling anemia through iron fortification and testing. One young woman literally reinvented the wheel.

The water wheel is a 25-gallon drum that moves five times the amount of water possible than traditional methods, which is five gallons carried on the head, Cynthia Koenig, inventor and CEO of Wello, said. "So not only is it alleviating women and girls from this tremendous physical burden of water collection but it's also reducing the time burden. Women and girls spend about 25 percent of their time each day collecting water," she said.

Daniel and his team at the institute match the early-stage entrepreneurs with mentors such as the chief of technology at Hewlett-Packard, as well as investors who come to stay in the house and help them bring their ideas to scale.

"It's amazing what Unreasonable will do," said Myshkin Ingawale, who raised money at the institute for his company Biosense, which is helping to monitor anemia in India.

"We call it accidental productivity. So you have 26 people with ideas to change the world and they are put together in this frat house which they call the mansion. Synergy is the perfect word to describe it."

When ABC News stopped by the institute, ER Executive Producer Neal Baer was offering mentorship to the 26 entrepreneurs, teaching them how to use good storytelling techniques to help raise funds.

"When you are pitching to a venture capitalist, I want to be moved," Baer told the fellows. "The thing I found that moves venture capitalists is they want to know the story. They need to see the numbers but if they can't see it, then they're not going to be involved."

The do-gooders get by with barely any sleep for six weeks. By day, the fellows might go to the mountains with a mentor such as Baer, or potential investor. They also discuss their ideas at workshops, or take part in a large pitch where entrepreneurs present their companies to the community for feedback. By night, they have dinner at a huge table straight out of a scene from Beauty and the Beast.

"At the dinner table, we try to meet with random people we don't know so we can mingle a little bit, dinner's supposed to be fun," said Mohamed Ali Niang, CEO of Malo Traders, an organization fortifying rice in Mali.

And then it's off to town out to blow off a bit of steam. After all what is a revolution without a little dancing?

The program culminates as the entrepreneurs travel to San Francisco pitching their ideas to a group of investors, and then it's back to Boulder for the "Unreasonable Climax" one last final pitch to the community. The whole idea is to get these ideas funded and brought to scale.

This year, you can help decide who gets to go by going online to unreasonableinstiute.org/marketplace. It might be one way you can make the world a better place.

"Take Mohamed Salem, he's s providing renewable energy to off-the-grid customers in the deserts of Palestine and Israel, getting Jewish and Muslim communities to work together at the same time," Epstein said. "Philip Wilson from Guatemala is providing clean drinking water to families for $35 a year through a brilliant water filtration device they've developed. They have sold over 53,000 filters benefiting over 300,000 people in the last three years. The stories go on and on."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan252012

Google Changes Raising Privacy Concerns

JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images(MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.) -- In just over a month, Google will roll out sweeping new changes to its privacy polices and terms of service that will link user data across its e-mail, video and social-networking services -- a move that has some privacy watchdogs worried.

Starting on March 1, when people sign up for Google, they'll be signing up for and agreeing to all of its products -- Gmail, YouTube, Google+, etc. -- which will all be covered under one new privacy policy.

"Our new Privacy Policy makes clear that, if you’re signed in, we may combine information you've provided from one service with information from other services.  In short, we’ll treat you as a single user across all our products, which will mean a simpler, more intuitive Google experience," Google explained in a blog entry Tuesday.

The changes will also allow the online search engine to follow users' activities across of its platforms.  Google says the adjustments will enable it to improve the services it provides.

Alan Simpson, the vice president of the group Policy for Common Sense Media, isn't a fan of the move and thinks users should have the ability to opt out.

"It's tracking across a lot of different platforms and combining a lot of different things that we do.  It's a challenging area because its new technology and its hard to follow how we're being tracked," Simpson said.

He added, "These companies can and should do a better job of enabling us as consumers, and especially parents of kids to protect their privacy and their personal information.  And to make the choices they see fit."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio