What You Need to Know for World Password Day

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World Password Day steps to security

For a strong password follow these steps to be more secure online..

Every year, the first Thursday of May is acknowledged as World Password Day, which is a day to raise awareness of the importance of maintaining high security standards online. This year the first Thursday is May 3rd. With all of the various social media platforms, mailing lists, and online shopping available, many online users have become accustomed to using the same set of passwords for their accounts. That practice is dangerous, and can lead to even more security issues in the future. For World Password Day we have compiled a list of the top 5 best practices for creating a strong digital password.

This list was compiled by Thom Byrne, who is the Faculty Chair for the Cybersecurity program at Coleman. If you want to learn more about Mr. Byrne and his program, read his Faculty Spotlight Interview.

 

The Top 5 Ways to Create a Secure Password

1. Secure passwords are NOT short passwords. Be sure to use a sequence that is more complex than a street name, or the name of your pets. We recommend a length of at least 15 characters, if possible.

2. Avoid using the same passwords for multiple accounts. Though it is easier to remember a select few passwords, they will also make you an easier target for cybercriminals. In addition, it’s better not to use whole words or phrases that are easily recognizable.

3. Download a password manager (such as LastPass), which will help you keep track of your information, while also generating complex passwords for you to use.

4. Use a site authenticator (Microsoft Authenticator, Google, YubiKey, Authy, etc.) that can be used on sites that support Two Factor Authentication (2FA), which will generate a time based six digit 30 second code to provide 2FA.

5. If you don’t want to use a password manager you can use the following techniques instead:

  • Make it long, but memorable. You can use a series of punctuation marks instead of random numbers or letters. For example, use “Dog………….37” which will only require you to remember the number of periods instead of a complex sequence.
  • Create a visual que that you can use to remember the password sequence. This technique takes at least four unrelated words and a separator character of your choosing to create a secure sequence. For example, the password “Mars;Frog;Valley;42” is 19 characters long. So you can visualize a frog on Mars in a valley with 42 on its side, or any other visual using that specific signifier. The separating character in this example is a semi-colon, but you can choose any that you prefer.

It is important to be as proactive as possible online when it comes to protecting your information. For World Password Day take a moment to think about all of the passwords that you are currently using, or need to remember, and determine if they meet the necessary requirements for proper security. If not, use these tips to help you create a more secure password and use them to create better passwords in the future. If you would like to know more about staying safe online, you can read our blog about email phishing here.

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What Can I Do With a Degree in Software Development?

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A degree in Software Development is a great choice for individuals who love the high tech lifestyle. Several job opportunities exist within this field. The IT world is always evolving and several business fields are saying that there are not enough programmers to fill the software development positions.

What type of jobs can you get with a software development degree? Software development is not limited to just one type of opening. It depends on your interest or your education. Some of the major branches and career paths in software development include: Game Developer, Mobile App Developer, Webmaster, Database Administrator, Software Architect, Software or Systems Developer, Software or Systems Engineer, Cloud Integration Specialist, to name a few. Companies are ready to hire these types of individuals with academic training. Don’t worry about the job title in particular because they all involve the same general process which is to gather feature requirements for the software.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that employment of software developers is projected to grow 24% from 2016 to 2026, which is much faster than the average occupations. These statistics are driven by increased consumer and corporate demand for programmers and/or downloadable applications for mobile devices.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also shows that software developers with a focus of systems software earned an average of $107,600 in 2017. The bottom 10% of these developers earned an average of $65,670, while the top 10% earned in excess of $164,150. In addition, software developers in the applications focus earned an average of $101,790 in 2017. The bottom 10% earned $59,870 while the top 10% earned in excess of $160,100.

Coleman University prepares you for this exciting and rewarding technical-focused career, by taking students through an accelerated program lead by instructors who have real-world experience. Our mission is to deliver relevant education while providing an environment where you may develop to your full potential. Our graduates have complete access to career services, regardless of the year they graduated from Coleman, and we offer resources for course refreshers. If you are interested in a career in Software Development, take the first step with Coleman University!

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This article was written by Leticia Rabor, the Faculty Chair for the Coleman University Software Development program. You can read other blogs she has written for the Coleman Chronicle here, and her Faculty Spotlight interview here

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Coleman Sponsors the National Diversity Council for Women’s History Month

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Many of our community members know the name Coleman Furr, and they know that he is the namesake of our institution. However, what you may not know is that our university was co-founded by a woman. Louis Furr was a visionary in the same way that her husband was, and she too saw a future for technology that included everyone with a passion to learn. In her memory, and the memory of all the women that we have taught since 1963, Coleman has been an avid proponent of diversity in the STEM fields. We continue to look for ways to engage the community around this important topic, especially in regards to encouraging more women to establish a career in technology. During Women’s History month, we sponsored and hosted the California Diversity Council for their Women in Leadership: Women Blazing Trails symposium which took place on March 14th. Female leaders from all over Southern California were on our campus discussing their personal experience with adversity and challenges in their careers.

The panel of speakers included Stacie Herring, Vice President of Consumer Services Experience at Intuit, Angelica Espinoza, Vice President of Compliance and Governance and Corporate Secretary at Sempra Energy, Sadie Stern, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at 3D Systems, Judy Wright. Vice President of Human Resources for Valley View Casino & Hotel, Denise Brucker, Vice President of Compliance, Labor & Employment for Cubic Corporation, and Dr. Ilkay Altintas, the Chief Data Officer for the San Diego Supercomputer Center at UC San Diego. Leading the panel as moderator was Dr. Merrilyn Datta, the Head of Business Operations at Illumina, who engaged the audience with her own stories of her experiences and engaging attendees in a powerful discussion. Some of the main points of discussion that came to light were the importance of speaking your mind, being unafraid to ask for more resources, and taking risks in expanding your horizons.

From culturally conscious leadership, to swimming with sharks and building a value for your personal brand, the panelists covered important topics and invited attendees to ask questions. Many members of the audience had the opportunity to establish important networking connections, and learn more about resources available to them in San Diego. The National Diversity Council will be hosting many more events like this one here in California, if you are interested in attending please visit the events page on their website.

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Coleman University Supports San Diego Veterans Through the Warrior Foundation

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Since 1963, Coleman University (formerly Coleman College) has prepared its students for technology-focused careers and has also been dedicated to helping our community through support efforts such as sponsorships and donations. San Diego has one of the largest military populations in the country, and the veterans that live here are part of a strong community that needs the support of its neighbors. Coleman has been helping enlisted military and veterans achieve their own successes through education and providing essential career building resources. To further our mission to support our military community, Coleman has been working to develop new relationships with organizations in San Diego that have the same goal, like the Warrior Foundation Freedom Station. Coleman University President Norbert Kubilus and External Relations Director Rod Weiss visited the dedicated men and women leading and operating Warrior Foundation Freedom Station on September 1, 2017 for a special tour of their facilities.

On September 26, Coleman University donated a printer to the Freedom Station offices as way to show support to those who are working tirelessly to help our wounded veterans. The Warrior Foundation Freedom Station is a veteran rehabilitation community located at 1223 – 28th Street, San Diego, CA 92102. Disabled veterans and those suffering from mental health issues receive vital resource from this organization. Through various types of therapy, assisted living, and training opportunities, veterans are given the tools that they need to succeed. Freedom Station aids these heroes as they make the transition from defenders of freedom to productive members of America’s civilian work force.

On December 8 Coleman University was happy to support KFMB 760AM’s annual Warrior Foundation Radiothon, which raised over $935,000 dollars! Our External Relations Director, Rod Weiss was on set for the Radiothon and saw all of the excitement first-hand. Due to the generosity and kind spirit of our community, the Warrior Foundation Radiothon helped raise over $14 million since 2004 to send military heroes home for the holidays. The Radiothon also raises funds for the foundation to continue to aid in transitioning our military men and women (many of whom are going through rehab in San Diego) back to civilian life.

Whether it is supporting this Radiothon, or educating veterans for their civilian careers, Coleman University is dedicated to supporting the brave men and women who volunteer their lives in service to the United States.

 

If you are a veteran looking to further your education and start a path to a degree in technology, give us a call today at (858) 499-0202 or visit www.coleman.edu!

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How Do I Sign Up for the Global Game Jam 2018??

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We’ve already talked about the Global Game Jam on this blog; and the fact that this opportunity to compete in a global challenge with other gamers is one that can’t be missed. So now that we’ve peaked your interest, this blog will tell you what you should know about the #GGJ2018 and what to prepare for once you’ve signed up.

To start with, we want to tell you what your ticket purchase includes. The hosts of the Global Game Jam event at Coleman, the IGDA, have dedicated the funds from the event to providing food for the participants as well as other resources to help make this event as awesome as possible for all who attend! Starting Friday evening on January 26, 2018 participants will start arriving at the Coleman campus to set up their equipment and find spots to get settled in. You can bring in your own computers, laptops, and monitors to use for the weekend as well as any other special resources that you need to effectively code or design. Since the participants will be here from Friday night to Sunday afternoon Coleman University has not only provided campus space for this event, we will be making sure that there is a computer for everyone who registers. The point of this event is to mimic the conditions and stresses of game design and development so make sure that you come prepared to work hard, but we want you to be comfortable while doing it! So if you prefer to code in your bunny slippers, make sure to bring them along too.

What if you don’t have any team members lined up when you register? Well that is certainly no problem. Once the theme for the challenge is announced on Friday night, participants will then have the opportunity to discuss their ideas with others, and teams will form based on which projects participants want to join. The proposed projects will not all be videogame based because board games, card games, and any other styles of game are all welcome submissions. Since the submissions don’t have to be a videogame, participants who do not have coding experience are not excluded from being a part of this event. A passion for gaming and creating fun projects is the only requirement needed! The fun comes from the thrill of joining a team and bringing a great game to life in only three days.

Once teams have finished their projects, they will be submitted to the Global Game Jam site and published. Visitors to the site can still see games from previous years and even play some of them as well! For a game developer or designer, this can be a great addition to any resume and will add invaluable experience to help put you ahead. Being able to perfect your teamwork and problem solving skills while also creating a game from scratch is something that many recruiters look for in a potential hire. Why not put the Global Game Jam onto your resume this year?

If your family or friends are interested in seeing the event and coming by to show support, they are more than welcome! There will be visiting hours for friends and family, however, since time is limited and teams will have to work around the clock, visitors will not be able to stay overnight. We will also have special guests from radio station FM 94.9 on our campus live streaming and getting involved with participants. Hamby from the Casual Gamers podcast will be on our campus broadcasting from his Twitch channel, so you definitely don’t want to miss out on that! Head over to the official Eventbrite page for more information and the link to register as a participant: http://bit.ly/GGJ18Coleman. See you there! #GGJ2018

Turn your passion for gaming, coding, or design into a degree and a lifelong career! With a degree in Game Design from Coleman University, along with all the first-hand professional game development experience of our instructors, our graduates have the knowledge and the connections to build a solid career in game development and design. Call us today to schedule a tour and learn more about our programs at (858) 499-0202! Turn your “Dreams into Reality” now, classes start January 8, 2018!

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Celebrate International Internet Day!

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      What do you consider to be the greatest invention in modern history? Many will suggest the automobile, airplanes, the telephone, or even sliced bread, but there’s one that we think outshines them all. Yes, we are talking about the internet! The internet has created a powerful online community that has spawned countless cultural changes and has greatly influenced our lives. Through social media and email alone we have the ability to instantly connect with our friends and family, as well as new acquaintances from around the world. It is hard to fathom that this invention is technically a new phenomenon; we’ve only had the modern internet since 1989!

Why do we celebrate internet Day on October 29th? On this date in 1969, the first recorded message transmission was sent over an internet connection between two computers. A student at UCLA named Charley Kline attempted to send log in information to another student at Stanford named Bill Duvall and managed to send the letters “L” and “O” before the connection was lost. At the time these two students were working on the ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) which was being funded by the US Department of Defense and consisted of four terminals set up at UCLA, Stanford, UC Santa Barbara, and the University of Utah. Each terminal operated independently testing various connections and after this first message attempt, it only took an hour to send the entire message to Stanford.

Even though this internet connection was the birth of the World Wide Web, it was still uncommon for anyone outside of universities, government agencies, and a few scientific labs to be using it at this time. This year also marked the establishment of HTML and HTTP by Tim Berners-Lee who was working in Britain at CERN. The World Wide Web was officially launched as a project in August of 1991 and you can see the results of that project today when you pick up your smartphone. The digital age in the late 90s and into the early 2000s was an explosion of internet fever with over 162 million new and public websites being created and hosted online. Silicon Valley in Northern California became the epicenter of internet development and the dotcom boom. Today the internet is a central pillar in global communications and almost every notable public figure has their own profile online that their fans can interact with. How much do you use the internet in your daily life?

It is important to note that Coleman University was established in 1963, long before the internet was born. Computers were not developed for internet use, in fact, they were initially conceptualized for computing large sums (hence the name “computer”) and storing information securely. At the time it would have been unheard of to discuss putting a computer into a private home. Why would a family or single person need one? It may be hard to imagine now, but considering the size of the computers that were being built, it would have been hard to fit one inside of a home in the first place!

We recognize Internet Day as a moment to reflect on the incredible advancements in technology that we have witnessed in the past century and will continue to see in the future. Celebrate today by learning more about the history of the internet, how it has influenced your life, and the telling your friends on social media to celebrate too!

If you are interested in learning more about our degrees in Software Development, Cybersecurity, and Game Design call us at (858) 499-0202 and schedule a tour! There are thousands of jobs for programmers and coders across the nation, and we want to help you get started in your dream career today!

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Coleman and Ssubi give back to San Diego

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Our President, Norbert Kubilus, stands next to the donated computers from Sharp Healthcare that Coleman will be helping to refurbish. Ssubi is located behind the Graduate Studies building. 

Coleman University’s mission statement is “To deliver relevant education that prepares individuals for technology-focused careers, while providing an environment where they may develop to their full potential”. That mission statement is not just focused on our learning environments. Our emphasis on developing to a full potential also applies to the various opportunities that Coleman is bringing to our students that take place outside of the classroom and within our community. Since 2016 we have provided a portion of a warehouse for the non-profit Ssubi to operate out of, as well as encouraged our students to work with them to collect and ship donations around the world. This organization has taken on the enormous task of processing gently used medical equipment from local hospitals and clinics and distributing to areas in Africa that have no access to basic and essential medical materials. The founder, Laura Luxemburg, has worked tirelessly throughout Southern California to encourage the leaders in the Healthcare industry to be more conscious of their potential impact through conservation and to donate their equipment to communities who need it. It is her goal to bring jobs to our city in an environment that promotes conservation. Through efforts in connection with Sharp Healthcare and the San Diego Veterans Association, Laura has been successful in reaching the first part of her overall goal for Ssubi: the potential millions of tons of medical waste that can be reused are being saved from landfills. Sustainability is important for helping to make San Diego a Green city and Coleman University wants to be a part of that movement.

In conjunction with their effort called Greening for Good, Ssubi is also offering gently used computer equipment to low income families in San Diego. Our University has provided Ssubi with a center on our campus to clean, store, and refurbish 50 computers that were donated by Sharp Healthcare. Using the Cybersecurity Club room which serves as a lab on our campus, student volunteers are installing new software and returning the equipment to their factory settings. Once each computer has been cleaned, they will be donated to local shelters and families who may not have access to computer equipment. Computer and internet literacy are vital skills that will help every child become more successful in their academic careers. Coleman is dedicated to promoting this literacy effort and we are doing our part by donating equipment to help maintain an equal educational playing field for young learners and their parents. We hope to continue to work closely with Ssubi again in the future, and we look forward to seeing all of the delighted faces of the families who will be receiving these donations.

For more information on the on-going efforts of Ssubi please visit their website: http://www.ssubi.org/ or check out their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ssubiishope/

 

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Ransomware Global Strike: The “WannaCry” Attack

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In the height of the westward expansion into California, the “Wild West” became not only a place, but a term that described an entire cultural phenomenon. What made the west so wild were the apparent lawless territories that saw hostile takeovers, train and carriage robberies, kidnapping, and ransoming. Over time the west was settled and developed into new states with their own laws and regulations. The wild part of the west was no longer a threat, at least in the physical world. Today we have a new and almost lawless place, however this territory only exists online. Though there are plenty of companies and programs that work 24/7 to ensure safety online, there are still opportunities for malicious attacks to be carried out. The robberies and takeovers that plagued the westward expansion have now become digital.

A typical scam that you will see online is the email phishing that we talked about in a previous blog. These scams can be easy to avoid as long as the recipient is not engaging with the email or providing any personal information. Unfortunately that does not always protect online users from being attacked for their information. Ransomware has become a bigger threat that is hard to trace and causes an incredible amount of damage. Essentially it is software that takes all of a victim’s personal files and information and holds it for a ransom that must be paid. Recently a large ransomware attack has become global news, with at least 150 countries experiencing the same attack. The most affected victims were the small businesses, universities, and hospitals that were unable to protect themselves and had to either pay the ransom or risk losing all of their data (CNN Money). Reports from China, Germany, Japan, Russia, the US, and Spain confirmed that there had been attacks from the same ransomware and that they had taken the necessary precautions to try and stop its spreading.

Through a patch in the Microsoft Windows software, the ransomware “WannaCrypt” was able to target specific users and take over their systems. Ransomware works as a lock box for your data, keeping you from accessing any of your files or personal information unless you agree to the terms and conditions set up by the creator. Victims were told to use Bitcoin to pay for the return of their files (Microsoft). Many of the Windows users who were targeted were not using an updated, or a licensed version of this software making them even more vulnerable to patches that could not be fixed in the Microsoft updates. In the wake of this viral attack, Microsoft released a statement outlining the efforts they were making to avoid these attacks in the future. However, they also called on the public to become more aware of their own responsibility in updating their computers and backing up their information with an external drive and cloud software. Proactive actions are the key to being safe online. This idea of being proactive is also what stopped the ransomware attack from continuing to spread. A young cybersecurity student in the UK decided to look more closely at the software behind the attack and discovered a kill switch. The malware was using “a very long nonsensical domain name that the malware makes a request to – just as if it was looking up any website – and if the request comes back and shows that the domain is live, the kill switch takes effect and the malware stops spreading” (The Guardian). Once the student located the domain name, all he had to do was buy it. The domain cost $10.69 and was immediately registering thousands of connections every second; once it was purchased the malware was stopped in its tracks. Additionally once this domain was bought he was able to determine the IP addresses attached to the malware and reported them to the authorities. Though this was a great victory, in the world of Cybersecurity it is just a temporary fix. There are just as many entities creating malware as there are cybersecurity experts trying to stop them. What makes this malware attack so dangerous is that it can be replicated and reused at any time.

Backing up files, or storing information in the Cloud, and regularly updating your software are the best measures you can take to protect yourself from ransomware. As we mentioned in a previous blog on email phishing, it is imperative that you avoid any email from a company or bank that is asking for your personal information via email.

If you are interested in becoming a cybersecurity expert yourself, consider a degree from Coleman University. Perhaps it could be you that stops the next big cyber-attack in its tracks! Call (858) 499-0202 for information on our technology focused programs.

 

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Phishing Isn’t a Sport

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Six tips from Coleman University on how to keep your email safe from phishing scams.

Cybersecurity is a hot button topic lately. With the rumors of Russian infiltration into the United States Presidential election, and the exposure of private emails and photos onto sites such as WikiLeaks, the privacy that we covet online is becoming increasingly endangered. With the recent phishing scam going through Google Docs, it is imperative to remember the necessary steps to take online in order to ensure that you are not a target of a scam. First, let’s review what online scamming/phishing looks like, and the ways to spot one.

The most likely scam that you will encounter is a phishing email that can be sent to your accounts. Phishing is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “a scam by which an e-mail user is duped into revealing personal or confidential information which the scammer can use illicitly.” An email may look legitimate with logos and graphics, but that does not mean that it should be taken at face value. For example, banks have taken a stance against phishing by only allowing account actions to be completed through their own websites or at a physical bank location. Your private bank will never ask you for passwords, social security numbers, account numbers, routing numbers, or any other private information via email (Telegraph.co.uk). Be on the lookout for emails that inform you of account changes or updates; if you did not authorize changes, immediately report this issue. The best course of action to protect yourself if you feel that you have been targeted by a scam is to document as much as you can with photos, emails, and phone calls. If an email comes into your inbox that seems suspicious call the company that supposedly sent it and ask about the email. Taking the initiative to validate the email before responding is one of the best ways to protect yourself from online threats. So what happened in regards to the Google Docs scam that went viral last week?

Gmail users were sent a notification from a known contact to click on a shared Google Doc. In order to access the document, the users had to authorize a transfer of contact information to the sender. Since the sender was perceived to be a friend or family member, there was little hesitation to allow this authorization. Routing the doc through an unauthorized Google Docs app prompted the Gmail user to allow the application to take control of their email information as a “management” tool (BGR.com). As a result, any personal information attached to contacts was downloaded and stored. Google reported shortly after this spamming went viral that over one million accounts were potentially compromised and the unauthorized application was shut down, as well as the email accounts that were the source of the scam. Information from email accounts linked to sites such as iTunes, Amazon, Twitter, and Facebook were the most vulnerable to this scam. Any users who had encountered this phishing email were asked to change their emails and passwords immediately. An interesting thing to note is that a majority of these emails were addressed to “hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh@mailinator.com” (Forbes.com).

One of the first things that you should look for when it comes to identifying phishing emails is the sender’s name, the name that they have addressed the email to, and the language they have used. If there are typos, or if the language is not clear, that should be your first indication that the email in question is not valid. Most often the email address of the sender will look like an official domain, but there could be minor differences such as a period between words, or a domain extension from another country such as “.ru” or “br”, which can be hard to miss. If links are provided in the body of the email, hover your cursor over them and the destination for the link should pop up. If an IP address comes up instead of the domain name, then the link could be fraudulent. Another item to look for is the tone of the message. If you receive an email that has a threat such as closure of an account, that tone is your best indication that the message is fraudulent. A good source of examples for phishing and how to avoid them is the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission website, which also lists the information for phishing phone calls and how to report phishing activity.

Taking that extra moment to evaluate an email is your best line of defense in keeping your private information safe. Make sure to update your email passwords and delete unwanted or fraudulent emails as soon as possible. If you are interested in how online security works, and want to learn more about protecting online identities think about the possibility of a career in Cybersecurity. This field is growing fast and will be a lucrative degree option long into the future. Call Coleman today to schedule an appointment and speak with an admissions counselor at (858) 499-0202 Monday through Friday.

 

 

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Dynamic Selfies Coming Soon?

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It’s a common known fact that people love to document their passions. That passion could be painting or car engines; or even just your new makeup or tech gadget. With documenting comes sharing, which our generation is very eager to do. Now with rising technologies and the explosion of social media, it has become an almost integral part of our day to document or ‘blog’ about ourselves.

With Instagram, people are able to share things they’ve found, new ideas as well as new looks through images. Combined with Facebook, it’s a constant stream of what people are up to. So what is the next big thing for our ‘selfie’ focused generation? Maybe Hovercams?

As absurd as that sounds it’s close to becoming a thing. Drone technology is on the rise, which will eventually lead to personal drone. It also isn’t that big of a step from having phones in our pockets 24/7, which we use to take pics and upload onto social media sites. Having one that can hover outside of your arm span to take the perfect selfie. Developers are working on the ‘Nixie’, a quadcopter camera drone — currently in the prototype phase — that’s designed to be flexible and lightweight enough to wrap around your wrist. When a selfie opportunity arises the Nixie detaches, flies to a likely spot, hovers and takes a picture.

Very similar to sic fi stories, but it looks promising. The idea was also used in the popular book series, ‘Uglies’ by Scott Westerfeld. In the 4th book, everyone has their own hover cam and news feed to post about themselves or their interests, when they want. The cams came in different sizes, heavy-duty large drones or ‘swarms’ of mini drones that constantly record their owner’s lives. This would be a step up from the selfie shots and could lead to other uses such as an upgrade to body cams worn by police.
It will be interesting to see the development of these devices.

Sources:
http://scottwesterfeld.com/books/uglies/
http://flynixie.com/

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