How Much Are You Over-Paying for Your Auto Insurance?

10 septembre 2013
<nyt_text>

SAN FRANCISCO — In the 20th-century workplace, Duncan Logan might be considered an abusive landlord. He rents working spaces without doors or walls between tenants. Instead, his renters work at long tables, and sometimes those tables are shared with other companies.

Jim Wilson/The New York Times

Duncan Logan is aiming to fill a thousand desks this year at RocketSpace. He founded it in San Francisco in 2010, when real estate was still depressed.

Yearn for privacy? “Headphones are the new cubicle,” he said.

In today’s tech world, though, if Mr. Logan did have a door it might be knocked down by clamoring start-ups. What RocketSpace, the office rental company he started in San Francisco in a building on its last legs in late 2010, does provide is lots of high-speed Internet access, proximity to well-regarded young companies, amenities like free beer and occasional chats with the likes of Steven A. Ballmer of Microsoft, Dick Costolo of Twitter and the venture capitalist Vinod Khosla.

That, it seems, more than makes up for the lack of privacy. Besides, in an era of oversharing on social media sites, who needs privacy when you can have collaboration?

“I was here until 10:30 the other night, and so was the guy at that company, and them over there,” said Michael Perry, indicating two tables close to his own at RocketSpace. His four-person start-up, Kit, is trying to use online data so brands can find their most vocal supporters on places like Facebook. “When I was working alone, I thought I had a billion-dollar idea,” he said. “Here, everybody thinks they have a billion-dollar idea, and they’re hammering away. That’s inspiring.”

Rents are up and vacancies scarce in San Francisco as the tech boom has traveled north of Silicon Valley. And novel, flexible office plans have come with it.

According to the real estate service CBRE, technology now accounts for 75 percent of new office demand in San Francisco, compared with the historical norm of perhaps 30 percent. The city seems like a place where almost any space could rent. Some start-ups are setting up in the Tenderloin district, long considered one of the city’s worst neighborhoods.

Even in the hot San Francisco market, however, RocketSpace appears to be making a 20 percent premium to current office rental prices, based on its 580 desks, leased by some 130 companies. Mr. Logan, who leases space inside two buildings near the old Pacific Stock Exchange, charges $700 to $800 a month for a “desk,” or table space.

Unlike temporary offices like Sandbox Suites or WeWork, which rent desk space to freelancers and others, or the so-called incubator spaces that take equity for their start-ups getting off the ground, RocketSpace expects companies to increase staff under its roof, and to pay cash. Once a start-up gets to about 30 people, it is time to move out.

Mr. Logan, 41, works hard at making sure renters have credibility by checking their backers and work histories. He cultivates relationships with venture capitalists and has researchers looking for the next hot thing. There are lots of free Jolly Rancher candies and boxes of coconut water, but renting here takes money, well-known backers and a personal track record at hot firms. “From the start, we’ve vetted which companies would be here,” he said.

If he reaches his goal of filling a thousand desks by the end of the year, Mr. Logan should get more than double the typical per-square-foot rate associated with fancier offices. His costs, besides the tables, Wi-Fi and free beer, include the odd translucent panel between spaces, padded chairs with backs so high and straight that they can be pushed together to enclose a meeting of four people, and an automatic espresso maker in the common kitchen.

Companies that have passed through RocketSpace, either as local start-ups or initial satellite offices, include such tech darlings as Zappos, Uber, Spotify and Kabam, an online gaming company.

“It was amazing — lots of tables, so you can’t tell where one company began or ended, a receptionist who didn’t know who you were, people talking in whispers because everyone is working so closely together,” said Steve Swasey, the head of communications at Kabam. “It’s just how our office looks now, even the wires hanging from the ceiling.”

 

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Someday Worth Billions, but Now, They Need a Desk

10 septembre 2013
<nyt_text>

SAN FRANCISCO — In the 20th-century workplace, Duncan Logan might be considered an abusive landlord. He rents working spaces without doors or walls between tenants. Instead, his renters work at long tables, and sometimes those tables are shared with other companies.

Jim Wilson/The New York Times

Duncan Logan is aiming to fill a thousand desks this year at RocketSpace. He founded it in San Francisco in 2010, when real estate was still depressed.

Yearn for privacy? “Headphones are the new cubicle,” he said.

In today’s tech world, though, if Mr. Logan did have a door it might be knocked down by clamoring start-ups. What RocketSpace, the office rental company he started in San Francisco in a building on its last legs in late 2010, does provide is lots of high-speed Internet access, proximity to well-regarded young companies, amenities like free beer and occasional chats with the likes of Steven A. Ballmer of Microsoft, Dick Costolo of Twitter and the venture capitalist Vinod Khosla.

That, it seems, more than makes up for the lack of privacy. Besides, in an era of oversharing on social media sites, who needs privacy when you can have collaboration?

“I was here until 10:30 the other night, and so was the guy at that company, and them over there,” said Michael Perry, indicating two tables close to his own at RocketSpace. His four-person start-up, Kit, is trying to use online data so brands can find their most vocal supporters on places like Facebook. “When I was working alone, I thought I had a billion-dollar idea,” he said. “Here, everybody thinks they have a billion-dollar idea, and they’re hammering away. That’s inspiring.”

Rents are up and vacancies scarce in San Francisco as the tech boom has traveled north of Silicon Valley. And novel, flexible office plans have come with it.

According to the real estate service CBRE, technology now accounts for 75 percent of new office demand in San Francisco, compared with the historical norm of perhaps 30 percent. The city seems like a place where almost any space could rent. Some start-ups are setting up in the Tenderloin district, long considered one of the city’s worst neighborhoods.

Even in the hot San Francisco market, however, RocketSpace appears to be making a 20 percent premium to current office rental prices, based on its 580 desks, leased by some 130 companies. Mr. Logan, who leases space inside two buildings near the old Pacific Stock Exchange, charges $700 to $800 a month for a “desk,” or table space.

Unlike temporary offices like Sandbox Suites or WeWork, which rent desk space to freelancers and others, or the so-called incubator spaces that take equity for their start-ups getting off the ground, RocketSpace expects companies to increase staff under its roof, and to pay cash. Once a start-up gets to about 30 people, it is time to move out.

Mr. Logan, 41, works hard at making sure renters have credibility by checking their backers and work histories. He cultivates relationships with venture capitalists and has researchers looking for the next hot thing. There are lots of free Jolly Rancher candies and boxes of coconut water, but renting here takes money, well-known backers and a personal track record at hot firms. “From the start, we’ve vetted which companies would be here,” he said.

If he reaches his goal of filling a thousand desks by the end of the year, Mr. Logan should get more than double the typical per-square-foot rate associated with fancier offices. His costs, besides the tables, Wi-Fi and free beer, include the odd translucent panel between spaces, padded chairs with backs so high and straight that they can be pushed together to enclose a meeting of four people, and an automatic espresso maker in the common kitchen.

Companies that have passed through RocketSpace, either as local start-ups or initial satellite offices, include such tech darlings as Zappos, Uber, Spotify and Kabam, an online gaming company.

“It was amazing — lots of tables, so you can’t tell where one company began or ended, a receptionist who didn’t know who you were, people talking in whispers because everyone is working so closely together,” said Steve Swasey, the head of communications at Kabam. “It’s just how our office looks now, even the wires hanging from the ceiling.”

 

Why Being Bilingual Can Actually Make You Smarter

10 septembre 2013

 

Why Being Bilingual Can Actually Make You Smarter

What if you were told there was a way you may avoid dementia, strengthen your cognitive skills, and heighten your intelligence, and all you had to do was learn another language? 

It probably sounds great, because if you’re like most you would love to be able to speak a second language.  But then, you recall your experience in high school foreign language – boring rote memorization and long hours with little progress – and perhaps it doesn’t sound so good any more.

But, what if you were told it would take only 10 days to be on your way to becoming bilingual? Most people recognize the many benefits of learning a foreign language:  You can travel to foreign countries and feel comfortable, be a more productive and enticing employee in today’s competitive job market, and immerse yourself in the vast cultures that surround you.

But now, the collective evidence from a number of recent studies suggests that the bilingual experience improves the brain’s so-called executive function — a command system that directs the attention processes that we use for planning, solving problems, and performing various other mentally demanding tasks.*

These processes include the ability to ignore distractions to stay focused, switching attention willfully from one thing to another, and holding information in the mind — like remembering a sequence of directions while driving.

Even better, new approaches to learning mean you can learn a new language without the endless repetition, homework, and memorization. One of the most powerful, The Pimsleur Approach, actually trains people to start speaking a new language in as little as 10 days!  In fact, it’s so powerful, even the FBI has purchased it!

What is the Pimsleur Approach?

The Pimsleur Approach aims each lesson at teaching you to use the core vocabulary of the language, so you can speak the most in the least amount of time.  It’s not how many words you know, but rather, which words you can use.

Each Pimsleur Approach lesson has been scientifically sequenced to rapidly lock language material into your brain after just one listen.  Let the audio guide you; the program is based on what language learning should be: Quick, fun, and easy. You’ll absorb your new language without any reading, writing, or computer use.

The Pimsleur Approach has a 100 percent guarantee: Speak in 10 days or you don’t pay.

And, if that doesn’t tempt you, the benefits to learning a new language just keep adding up. In addition to keeping your mind sharp and your reflexes quick, it also may ward off the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

 

For those looking to get smarter in just 10 daysthe company is offering new customers a special offer of half off the language of your choice including free shipping. The programs (which normally cost $29.95) are now available for just $9.95

Better yet, they are also offering a full 30-day money-back guarantee (so, if you find you are not learning as fast as you want, simply return it for a full refund).

Rare Undersea Discovery Could Extend Your Life by 10, 20 or 30 Years

10 septembre 2013
Rare Undersea Discovery Could Extend Your Life by 10, 20 or 30 Years

Humans have made incredible health strides and are living longer lives than ever.  Many of the maladies that struck down our ancestors have for the most part been completely eliminated – everything from tuberculosis, to polio to malaria.

Today, the biggest killers stem as much from our lifestyles as from microscopic bacteria and viruses.  One of the worst of these is heart disease, and specifically high blood pressure. It’s a slow, but efficient killer that robs many people of what should be the last 10, 20 or 30 years of their lives.

Part of the reason that heart disease is so prevalent and intractable is that it often requires massive changes to one’s lifestyle— changes that are not easy to make.  Everything from radically altering ones diet to implementing serious exercise routines.  And while it’s never too late to start, people often realize the true danger only when it’s too late to make the changes and the damage is done.

Now, however, there may be a scientific breakthrough that could have an impact on high blood pressure comparable to penicillin’s ability treat infections or quinine’s effect on malaria.

Scientists are claiming that they have now isolated unusual ingredients in a rare seaweed discovered by fishermen off the coast of Korea that offer incredible health benefits—including the ability to restore blood pressure to normal levels.

Dr. Haengwoo Lee, a renowned biochemist living near Seattle, Washington conducted a massive 15 year, multimillion dollar clinical study on these two ingredients. The first is Seanol, an extremely rare seaweed extract from Ecklonia Cava that’s proven to be 100 times more powerful than any land-based antioxidant. That’s because it stays working in your body for 12 hours, compared to land-based antioxidants that work for 30 minutes.

« Its secret is its make-up of special polyphenol antioxidants that are a whopping 40% lipid (fat) soluble, » Dr. Lee explains. « Unlike nearly all land-based antioxidants that are water soluble, Seanol’s protective compounds can get into things like the fatty tissues of your brain and penetrate all three layers of your cells, including the outside, the oil-based cell membranes, and your DNA. »

Indeed, Seanol is so powerful, it’s the only FDA-approved Ecklonia Cava marine-algae extract in existence.

The second ingredient is Calamarine, a deep-sea omega-3 discovery that delivers 85% more DHA omega-3s to your heart, brain, joints, and eyes. It’s known to combat everything from fatigue and poor memory, to vision problems, joint pain, mood swings and depression.

With that research in mind, Dr. Lee combined Seanol and Calamarine with a high dose of vitamin D to form Marine-D3, the newest supplement in the fight against age-related illnesses and high blood pressure.

According to the CDC, about 1 in 3 U.S. adults has high blood pressure, which increases the risk for heart disease and stroke, the two leading causes of death in the United States. Increasing your omega-3 intake can reduce high blood pressure, and because it’s difficult to get enough omega-3s in foods like fish and nuts, many people turn to supplements.

Dr. Lee found that Calamarine delivers some of the greatest concentration of omega-3s known to science, and has been able to formulate it without any fishy burps or aftertaste. Combined with Seanol’s ability to reduce body inflammation, as well as help cells get the nutrients they need to thrive, stay healthy and protected, Marine-D3 is able to boost a body’s entire well being.

The makers of Marine-D3 are so confident that you’ll see fast dramatic results from this product, that if you aren’t happy after two full months, simply return the unused portion and they’ll buy it back. They’ll even give you ten dollars extra just for giving it an honest try! That kind of faith, combined with Dr. Lee’s exhaustive research, shows that Marine-D3 really is a one-of-a-kind product.

Habitable Zone Planet

10 septembre 2013
Image Caption: The newly discovered planets named Kepler-62e and -f are super-Earths in the habitable zone of a distant sun-like star. The largest planet in the image, Kepler-62f, is farthest from its star and covered by ice. Kepler-62e, in the foreground, is nearer to its star and covered by dense clouds. Closer in orbits a Neptune-size ice giant with another small planet transiting its star. Both habitable-zone planets may be capable of supporting life. Credit: David A. Aguilar (CfA)

Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online

Astronomers have discovered what could be considered the most Earth-like planet ever found outside our Solar System.

The team used the Kepler Space Telescope to find Kepler 62f, a small rocky planet orbiting a Sun-like star in theLyra constellation. The planet is about 1.4 times the size of Earth, and receives about half as much heat and radiation.

Kepler 62f is one of two “super-Earth” planets discovered in the star Kepler 62′s habitable zone — which means a planet is not so close that liquid water would boil off the face of the planet, and not so far away that it would be frozen. The planetary system’s other super-Earth, Kepler 62e, is 1.61 times Earth’s size and it gets about 20 percent more radiation and heat than Kepler 62f.

“The planets this small that we have found until now have been very close to their stars and much too hot to be possibly habitable,” said Eric Agol, a University of Washington associate professor of astronomy who is the second author of the paper published in Science Express.

“This is the first one Kepler has found in the habitable zone that satisfies this small size,” Agol said in astatement. “Kepler 62f is the smallest size and the most promising distance from its star, which by these measures makes it the most similar exoplanet to Earth that has been found by Kepler.”

He said that while the sizes of Kepler 62e and 62f are known, their mass and densities are not.

“Based on its size, our best guess is that it´s rocky and has some atmosphere, but not a thick gaseous envelope, like Neptune,” Agol said.

Although both super-Earths around Kepler 62 are too small for their masses to be measured, astronomers believe they are composed of rock and water.

“Kepler-62e probably has a very cloudy sky and is warm and humid all the way to the polar regions. Kepler-62f would be cooler, but still potentially life-friendly,” said Harvard astronomer and co-author Dimitar Sasselov. “The good news is — the two would exhibit distinctly different colors and make our search for signatures of life easier on such planets in the near future.”

Lead author Lisa Kaltenegger, of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) and the CfA, suggested there could be life on these planets.

“There may be life there, but could it be technology-based like ours? Life on these worlds would be under water with no easy access to metals, to electricity, or fire for metallurgy. Nonetheless, these worlds will still be beautiful blue planets circling an orange star — and maybe life´s inventiveness to get to a technology stage will surprise us,” Kaltenegger said.

Astronomers believe that the number of potentially habitable planets is far greater than previously thought. A team from Penn State´s Department of Geosciences said that if we were to look at 10 of the nearest small stars, we would probably find about four potentially habitable planets.

YouTube Creator Playbook Adds 5 Tailored Playbook Guides

10 septembre 2013

 

YouTube PlayBook Blackboard

YouTube recently added five tailoredPlaybook Guides –for education, media companies, music, nonprofits, and sports – to be  used in conjunction with Version 3 of the Creator Playbook, which is the main resource for site-wide best practices.

After reviewing each of the five new Playbook Guides, it’s clear that one size does not fit all when it comes to audience development. Although every YouTube channel needs great content to be successful, the strategies for building audiences around each type of content are significantly different.

Education

For example, YouTube EDU is home to high quality educational content from around the world. YouTube’s ambitious goal is to provide a global platform where anyone, anywhere can teach – or learn – anything they want. From Pre-K (e.g., Sesame Street) to Primary and Secondary Education (e.g., Khan Academy), to Higher Education (e.g., Massachusetts Institute of Technology), to Lifelong Learning (e.g., Big Think), YouTube wants to encourage creators in this category to continually discover, create, and share educational videos with the world.

However, some schools block access to YouTube, so the Education Playbook Guide talks about a gateway feature called YouTube for Schools that provides school networks with access to YouTube education videos, while continuing to block the rest of YouTube. Additional features include disabled comments and related video suggestions that are limited to YouTube EDU content.

Media Companies

There are two main types of media companies on YouTube. The first type creates « new » content that is tailored for YouTube’s audience and platform (e.g., PBS Off Book and Nerdist). The second type « repurposes » content that was originally produced for television or a partner’s owned and operated site (e.g., Comedy Central or TED Talks).

The Playbook Guide for Media Companies tackles a question that both types of media companies would ask: At what point is it smart to launch a new channel? The answer: If your content appeals to multiple, diverse audiences, then create multiple, diverse channels. And how should media companies leverage their existing audiences to drive viewership to a new channel? This particular guide says, « Annotations, calls-to-action (CTAs), description links, and promotional videos are effective traffic movers. »

Music

It’s worth noting that the Music Playbook Guide doesn’t begin a category landscape like the other four playbook guides do. Perhaps this is because YouTube’s relationship with Vevo, the leading music video website, is « complicated. » Vevo is a joint venture operated by Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, and Abu Dhabi Media, but Google and Vevo share the site’s advertising revenue.

Instead, the Music Playbook Guide jumps straight to the top concerns of YouTube’s other music partners (e.g., The Warner Sound). This includes how to use YouTube to release an album or song. It also includes how to use your artist or talent more effectively on YouTube. The guide suggests creating promotional videos and extra content from the artist.

Nonprofits

YouTube has a large number of success stories from nonprofits who have used the platform both to fundraise and to raise awareness for their causes. The Playbook Guide for Nonprofits features:

The Playbook Guide for Nonprofits tackles category-specific issues, including how to build awareness around your cause, reach supporters, and recruit volunteers. Nonprofit partners can use Call to Action Overlays or a Google Wallet « Donate » button.

Sports

Sports channels on YouTube allow people around the world to follow the leagues, teams, and sports that they love. Some sports channels are focused on entire leagues and teams, while others are focused on single athletes. The vast majority fall into one of these five categories:

The Sports Playbook Guide highlights important tools for many sports channels: Content ID and live streaming. Content ID is especially important for channels that are also rights holders of game or match footage.

This is the content that is most frequently uploaded by unauthorized channels, so activating Content ID is critical. Features that allow live streaming are also available to some sports channel partners. This is a great new self-service tool that allows live streaming of a sporting event or a press conference, engaging sports fans in a unique way.

What’s Missing?

So, is anything missing? There are a lot more than five categories of content on YouTube. In fact, there are another 20 categories of YouTube Original Channels that haven’t been addressed yet:

And YouTube also has Original Channels in FranceGermanythe UK, and Japan.

So, don’t be surprised if these five Creator Playbooks are just the first of a much larger set of resources for YouTube partners and other content creators. Or, as they use to say on early TV shows, « Don’t touch that dial, we’ll be back after these messages. »

7 New YouTube Features for Partners, Content Creators You Might Have Missed

10 septembre 2013

YouTube has been very busy this summer, rolling out a several new features for YouTube Partners and Content Creators in just the past few weeks. This includes adding new charts in YouTube Analytics, a YouTube subscribe button for websites, and more tools to build channels.

New Charts in YouTube Analytics

YouTube Analytics replaced YouTube Insights at the end of November 2011. YouTube Analytics was a significant improvement over YouTube Insight, but one of the top requests that Partners and Creators asked YouTube for was to see more of their videos at once in YouTube Analytics.

As of mid-July, you can see your top 200 videos in your video reports, as well as new charts to visualize your channel’s activity. For networks, you can now see the same data for your top 200 channels.

In addition, a new multi-line graphs allow you to compare the performance of up to 25 videos, channels or geographies over time in a number of reports. This is useful for comparing video views, comparing views in different geographies, as well as seeing where most of your subscribers come from.

YouTube Analytics Multi-Line Graphs

Another addition, the stacked area view, enables you to see how the data of selected videos, channels, or geographies relate to their totals.

YouTube Analytics Stacked Area

YouTube Subscribe Button for Websites

You can now embed the YouTube subscribe button on your site, enabling Partners and Creators to build their YouTube audience from all of their web properties. This lets your fans subscribe with a single click without leaving your site.

Once fans subscribe, they can see your channel on their YouTube homepage, phone, tablet, PlayStation 3, smart TVs, and millions of other devices.

Here’s what the subscribe button looks like on Vice.com in the bottom-right corner of this screenshot:

YouTube Subscribe Button

If you want to put the subscribe button on your site or customize the button, check out thedocumentation for more details.

More Tools to Build Channels

Finally, Partners and Creators with accounts in good standing will be able to use a bunch of features they’ve been asking for: live streaming, custom thumbnails, external annotations, and series playlists.

  • Start live streaming if you have 100+ subscribers: All channels in good standing with at least a hundred subscribers will be able to live stream, within the next few weeks. Check your Account Features page for an « Enable » button, and click it if you’re interested.
  • Choose your best thumbnail: Help your video stand out by using a custom thumbnail. Make sure you only upload images that are representative of what viewers will see, like prominent stills from the video.
  • Drive traffic to your merchandise: Want viewers to buy that new T-shirt you’re wearing in your video? You can now use annotations to link externally to various online stores and your associated websites.
  • Program related videos for viewers: Help viewers watch more of your videos by placing them in a series playlist. When you group videos that belong together, we’ll show viewers of your videos the next episode from the series and a link to the whole playlist. Just mark your playlist as a « series » in the playlist settings.

Finally, YouTube has also updated its Creator Playbook, providing Partners and Creators with tips on the best ways to use any of these features.

So, why all of the activity during mid-July and early August, when many people take a couple of weeks of vacation? It’s not like Hulu or some other direct competitor is giving YouTube a run for its money.

Is YouTube’s Business Model Broken?

As Search Engine Watch observed at the beginning of July, however improbably it seems, the answer is « Elementary. »

In April 2012, YouTube had more than 30,000 partners in 27 countries around the world. And hundreds of partners were making six figures a year.

Then, the YouTube team updated its partner eligibility requirements across 20 countries where the Partner Program had been launched. Content creators in these countries could quickly become YouTube Partners simply by enabling their YouTube accounts, and monetizing at least one of their videos.

Today, YouTube has more than a million partners from over 30 countries around the world earning money from their YouTube videos. And thousands of channels are making six figures a year.

But, the significant growth in the number of top YouTube Partners who are making six figures a year masks the dramatic growth in the number of YouTube Partners who aren’t making that kind of money. There are now close to a million partners who are still trying to build a sustainable career on YouTube and beyond.

So, YouTube appears to be doing as much as it can as quickly as it can to prevent an awful lot of poor Partners from facing a hard decision this winter: remain starving artists or look for another day job.

Meanwhile, this temporary imbalance between supply and demand has made YouTube’s TrueView video ads one of the best bargains available on the web over the past 15 months.

For example, VeryPink used YouTube TrueView In-Search ads to reach knitters for 3 cents a view. And at a budget-friendly cost of 2 to 3 cents per click on a predetermined $3 to $5 a day budget,YouTube TrueView ads have been a recipe for success for the BBQGuys.

For more on this topic, watch the episode of downLOADED entitled, « Is YouTube’s Business Model Broken? » It was published July 28 on the Tech Feed YouTube channel.

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