Some Gentle Reminders About Passwords

We’ve talked about passwords before and yet it is such an important thing because of all the security breaches we see. Some people say they don’t have anything that important protected behind a password, so it doesn’t matter. Or they say they need to use the same password for everything.

This is an unsafe practice and a dangerous attitude to have about passwords and your personal data.

Think about all your accounts where you have purchased items, or your banking or credit card accounts. Do you really want to use the same password for everything? Once they breach one account, say your email, they can look through that to find what other accounts you are subscribed to and have a field day. This is even how identities are stolen.

Using the service LastPass is one of the best ways to secure your accounts. Once you download LastPass, set it up with a hard to hack easy to remember password. An unusual set of simple words and an attached string of numbers that is also easy to remember is a good place to start. You can then import all the passwords saved to your browsers. Once you have LastPass you can also run a kind of audit check for recommendations on which passwords to change – it will show you duplicates or not so secure passwords you already have.

A Week Late: Happy Pi Day

Pi Day is coming up this week. The date is 3/14 and happens every year. Some places even offer Pi Day deals. People celebrate it in various ways. Maybe they will make a pie with the pi symbol on top; perhaps they will go out for pizza pie; maybe even participate in pie throwing contests.

Pi Day was founded in 1988 by Larry Shaw, a physicist. Why 3/14? Well, duh – Pi is approximately 3.14159… It also happens that it is the birthday of Albert Einstein. Pi is a number that is used in calculating the circumference of a circle.

Buying a Graduate a Laptop? Common Myths Busted Part 2

Many graduating seniors will be receiving laptops as graduation gifts before going off to college. Here are some “myths” about laptops and some other items to consider before selecting the best laptop in your price range.

Myth: More RAM will always speed up your PC.

Facts: It doesn’t hurt but it doesn’t always help. For basic usage (Microsoft Office, web browsing, streaming, social media and email) 8 to 16 gigs of RAM will likely be plenty. Special applications for graphic design, video or audio editing may require more.

Mac (Apple) vs. PC (Windows)

The average student probably doesn’t need an expensive Mac Book Pro or other Mac laptop. Those going into graphic design, audio or video fields may want to invest in one however. Consumers should also know that much of the popular software in these fields now runs on PC (Windows) and there are many fine high-end PCs that compete with Mac laptops for power and speed. Students with special computing needs should consult with an advisor in their program before buying a computer.


These days a table or hybrid is a real option that many students may prefer for portability and cost. Google tools like Google Docs as well as Microsoft 365 both run on iOS, Android and Windows tablets and hybrids. These tablets will also run all your student’s social media and streaming apps. Bluetooth keyboards and keyboard cases are available to make the devices easier to use for schoolwork.

Buying a Graduate a Laptop? Common Myths Busted Part 1

Many graduating seniors will be receiving laptops as graduation gifts before going off to college. Here are some “myths” about laptops and some other items to consider before selecting the best laptop in your price range.

Myth: A CPU with more cores is always faster.

Facts: Each “core” in a multicore processor allows the computer to better allocate its processing power to multiple applications or processes running at once. If one is only running one program at a time more “cores” won’t increase the power or speed of the computer. For basic usage, a faster CPU with less cores is probably preferable.

Myth: You always want the fastest CPU and graphics card you can afford.

Facts: Fast CPUs and power graphics cards will run hotter and run down a laptop battery faster. For many students, longer battery life will probably be more important than having the fastest computer. Unless the student is a gamer or using specialty software that requires more resources like a graphics card or a powerful CPU, buying a laptop with the most powerful components may be a waste of money that could be spent on an extended warranty or other necessities.

Mac (Apple) vs. PC (Windows)

The average student probably doesn’t need an expensive Mac Book Pro or other Mac laptop. Those going into graphic design, audio or video fields may want to invest in one however. Consumers should also know that much of the popular software in these fields now runs on PC (Windows) and there are many fine high-end PCs that compete with Mac laptops for power and speed. Students with special computing needs should consult with an advisor in their program before buying a computer.


These days a table or hybrid is a real option that many students may prefer for portability and cost. Google tools like Google Docs as well as Microsoft 365 both run on iOS, Android and Windows tablets and hybrids. These tablets will also run all your student’s social media and streaming apps. Bluetooth keyboards and keyboard cases are available to make the devices easier to use for schoolwork.

How Deepfakes Might Change the World (Pt. 2)

The other concern experts have about deepfakes, AI generated videos that can look and sound very real, is the speed at which their realism is increasing as evidenced by the viral videos of a deepfaked Tom Cruise covering Dave Matthews Band songs and doing coin flips. These demonstrated the increasing realism of these generated video and audio files.

Neither the Zelensky or Putin videos came close to the quality of Tom Cruise TikTok video. However, currently, one tactic to hide flaws is to use a purposefully low-quality video resolution like that which was used in the Zelensky and Putin videos.

Even if a deepfake is of low quality each one and each increase in quality blurs the line between fact and fiction online, according to experts. Many believe that even a bad deepfake can accomplish the task of planting doubt and obscuring the truth.

Some believe we could cross a line and on the other side is a world in which truth will no longer exist. These experts believe that when you can no longer believe anything you see everything becomes fake. It is not that everything will become true, but one loses confidence in everything. The truth becomes irrelevant in a sea of falsehoods.

Deepfakes Bring Psychological Warfare to the Ukraine (Pt. 1)

Amid the first weeks of Russia’s war in the Ukraine a video of Volodymyr Zelensky surfaced online. He wore a dark green shirt, spoke with purpose and was standing behind a white presidential podium adorned with the Ukraine coat of arms. His body held nearly still while his head and face were quite animated while he spoke.

Part of the speech in the video was as follows. “I ask you to lay down your weapons and go back to your families. This war is not worth dying for. I suggest you to keep on living, and I am going to do the same.”

The video was quickly identified as a “deepfake” – a realistic computer generated video.

Just five years ago deepfakes were not part of the common consciousness. The false but persuasive video and/or audio files are generated with the help of artificial intelligence. Worryingly and unsurprisingly they are now being employed to try to impact the outcome of a war. And it wasn’t just the Zelensky video, one of Russian President Vladimir Putin also went viral. In the video the faux-Putin was declaring peace with the Ukraine.

Experts in propaganda, disinformation and authentication have long worried that deepfakes would be used to sew lies and chaos throughout society. As deepfakes become more realistic the potential for influence and damage increases exponentially.

TikTok Hit With Second Lawsuit Alleging Content Moderator Neglect

Former TikTok content moderators have hit the social media platform with another lawsuit in which they are claiming damages because the job traumatized them.

Ashley Velez and Reece Young are the former contract-based content mods suing TikTok. They allege that their work required them to few unedited, unfiltered content they described as “disgusting and offensive.” They further described it as sexual and violent but used more explicit terms. The plaintiffs allege that TikTok and parent company ByteDance failed to protect moderators from harm and that they provided no support after moderators reviewed shocking content.

The complaint continued by noting that the companies required content moderators to review high volumes of disturbing content which constitutes requiring moderators to participate in unusually dangerous activities. Furthermore, the companies failed to implement widely accepted best practices to mitigate risks that are a natural part of such work.

This is the second such lawsuit in which TikTok was accused of not supporting its content moderators after viewing disturbing content.



GIF Creator Stephen Wilhite Dies at 74 Years Old

Many of your favorite animated memes, spread all over the internet and social media by millions of users every day, are a specific file type called a GIF (with some controversy over how to pronounce the now colloquial term…gif or jif) are due to the work of Stephen Wilhite, the inventor of the GIF.

The looping, animated images have become a universal language in which we can speak to one another without words. While Wilhite likely didn’t realize what his creation would become in 1987 but the GIF would be a route by which to transmit viral ideas from the days of Web 1.0 to the present day and will likely continue to transmit viral content for years to come.

Wilhite’s wife stated that he’d suffered a stroke a few years ago which weakened his right lung and he die from complications of Covid-19. Whilhite was 74 years old.

In the 1980s Wilhite was a developer for popular ISP CompuServe. His team was tasked with overcoming a tangled web of obstacles including then slow dial-up speeds, color image files that were too large to send over the fledgling internet and incompatible computer systems.

Finally in 1987 Wilhite discovered a way in which to compress images so the maintained their sharpness, would load quickly and could be displayed on any computer despite what system it was running. This was the GIF or Graphics Interchange Format.

The first ever GIF was a clip of an airplane soaring through a pixel sky.





Instagram Bringing Back Algorithm-Free Feeds

Popular social media platform Instagram is bringing back an old feature: the ability to organize one’s timeline in reverse chronological order rather than according to the whims of the platform’s algorithms. Instagram stated that the default sorting method would be the algorithm method.

Instagram head Adam Mosseri teased the feature last year during a Senate hearing on the effect of social media on teens. During the hearing the mention of the feature seemed to be in regards to addressing the issue that algorithms will sometimes drive teens towards harmful content that affects their mental health.

Instagram stated that users will be able to select from two new post display methods on their feeds. Long time social media users will recognize is a “following tool” which displays posts from the accounts the user follows in the order in which they were shared.

There will also be a “favorites” method of post display that shows the latest post from a list of specific accounts created by the user that might consist of close friends, family or their favorite content creators. Users will be able to have up to 50 favorites. Starred posts from a user’s favorites will take high priority on the user’s home feed. Accounts are not notified when they are added or subtracted from a user’s favorites list.

New Bipartisan Legislation to Protect Kids on Social Media Introduced

The Kids Online Safety Act, new bipartisan legislation, introduced by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D) and Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R), its intent is to help stop the potentially dangerous impacts of social media on children. It would target how social media platforms handle content on issues like eating disorders, suicide, and substance abuse.

Sen. Blumenthal stated that “Big Teach has brazenly failed children and betrayed its trust, putting profits above safety.”

The legislation would create specific responsibilities that social media platforms must comply with to protect children from sexual exploitation and the promotion of things like alcohol or gambling in addition to “rabbit holes of dangerous material.” All of this according to a fact sheet released by lawmakers.

The new bill would require that settings for families that would help parents protect children from harmful content. It would give parents tools to control children’s online purchases and help curb app addiction. These settings would have to be enabled by default.

The new legislation would also require social media platforms to release annual third-party audits on the risk level of their platform to minors. It would also oblige platforms to release their data to independent researchers or academics so they can study the impacts of the platforms on young people.


Uber Reveals Rating Data to Riders

Uber made an announcement that riders will now have an option so they can see ratings left by drivers—how many one-star ratings, how many five-star ratings, and all those between. Previously riders could only see their average rating.

To find these rating breakdowns requires several maneuvers within the app. First riders must navigate to the Settings menu, then to Privacy and then to the Privacy Center. Once inside the Privacy Center, riders must swipe to the right and choose “would you like to see a summary of how you use Uber?” Next riders must scroll to “browse your data” and then “view my ratings.” Alternatively, riders can access the data through the Uber website.

Not exactly immediately accessible but the feature is intended to offer riders a better understanding of their average rating and to encourage good behavior during rides.

Uber has made all identifying information is kept anonymous for the safety of drivers.

Uber has relied on this two-way rating system since its inception to hold riders and drivers accountable for their behavior. Both riders and drivers can be deactivated from the platform if their average rating drops too low. The threshold for banning is different for different cities and many factors are taken into account when calculating the point of termination.

Uber released average ratings for riders by city and found that New York had the lowest average rider rating with Seattle and D.C. right behind. San Antonio, Texas was number one for best average rider rating.



3G Shutdowns Could Cause Issues With Old Devices

The coming shutdown of 3G networks will not only affect older phones. Many older devices that rely on the 3G network will require updates to continue working. These include systems like home alarm systems, medical devices (fall detectors) and in-car systems like OnStar (GM).

Mobile carriers and other manufacturers have asked customers to update their 3G devices like Android and iOS devices and various e-readers before the shutdown happens. Other companies have asked companies to update all kinds of household devices and those in vehicles to avoid loss of service.

Millions of vehicles may go without live data updates in GPS systems or collision detection systems that will contact first responders. Some vehicles will have updates available for their devices while others will simply lose functionality for good, according to reports.

3G was revolutionary in the way it allowed early car infotainment systems and home security to function by connecting to mobile networks, but over time companies move on to 4G and recently 5G.

Now major carriers are discontinuing 3G not only in the United States but also in markets abroad. AT&T coming first 22 Feb. 2022 and others like Verizon to follow by the end of the year.



Snapchat Rolls Out New Location-Sharing Safety Feature

Snapchat is set to roll out a what some are calling a “buddy system” feature that will let users share their location with a friend for a time.

The safety feature comes as young people return to campuses, traveling, dating and perhaps going back to work in the office, according to Snapchat. The feature is not unlike Apple’s Find My app which allows users to share their phone’s location in real time with friends for varying, pre-determined amounts of time (from 15 minutes, 1 hour or even 8 hours). Snapchat found a partner in It’s On Us which is a nonprofit created in 2014 whose goal was to combat sexual assault on campuses.

Snapchat, since 2017, has let users share their location with Snap Map, however a user’s location only updates when the app is open. Snapchat claimed that 250 million people use Snap Map each month. In May 2021 Snapchat had 500 million monthly active users. An internal survey revealed that 78% of users had no problem using Snap Map to share their location with friends as a safe way to connect with other people.

Like Snap Map, the new safety feature is not turned on by default but can easily be found by users. Smartly, Snapchat has limited with whom and how long users can share their instant location to reduce the risk of the feature being used for stalking.





Twitter Rolls Out NFT Profile Pic Feature

Twitter has started to roll out a feature that will allow some users to set NFTs the user owns as their profile picture. Some see this as Twitter signaling their interest in the new digital art investment opportunity. This makes Twitter one of the most-well-known tech companies to launch a feature focused on the current NFT trend.

The images will appear differently than a usual Twitter profile picture. The NFT avatar will show up as a hexagon shape instead of a circle. Users will also be able to click the NFT profile picture to get information about the artwork, the creator and where it is listed.

The feature is only available to those who pay for Twitter’s subscription service. However, as part of the subscription Twitter verifies a user’s ownership of the NFT.

NFTs are “nonfungible tokens.” They are a verifiable digital collectable, each of which is one of a kind. They are often artworks and are traded on the blockchain. The blockchain is the tech which is the keystone to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

NFTs aren’t terribly new, but new in popularity. Recently, the digital artworks have sold for millions of dollars in some cases as artist, celebrities and other companies get in on the trend to make, buy and sell the digital collectables.



Meta Completes Its Own Supercomputer for AI Research

Facebook has put many of its eggs in the AI basket hoping it would help them with moderating all the posts on its social media platform. Now Meta, the Facebook parent company, is building its first supercomputer.

Meta has announced its new AI Research SuperCluster—a supercomputer meant to be used for research projects in the field of AI. The supercomputer has been in the works for two years. Meta hopes it will help them develop more powerful AI which could be useful in the difficult task of recognizing hate speech or other posts that go against their community standards.

Meta said that the RSC will help quickly train multi-modal AI that can understand context in a post, like language, tone and images, analyze this data and make or suggest a moderation decision.

Supercomputers employ many computer processors that are all connected inside what are commonly referred to as “nodes.” Supercomputers have been an essential part of much of the world’s AI research. The U.S. Department of Energy has its own supercomputer, Summit, which is the fastest in the U.S. and the second fastest in the world. Microsoft and Nvidia are two other well-known companies who keep and use their own custom supercomputer.


U.S. Dept. of Commerce Warns of Continuing Chip Shortages

According to a report released recently by the U.S. Commerce Department some manufacturers that rely on semiconductors are down to less than a five day supply of microchips. This is the latest indication that the extent of the computer chip shortage might be called “severe.”

The report was created by analyzing 150 responses to a Commerce Department request for information who rely on semiconductors to construct their products. The median supply held by manufactures was somewhere around 40 days-worth in 2019 to less than five days-worth last year.

The limited supply is an indication of several current and coming problems. Overseas it means that weather or Covid-19 outbreaks have slowed production. It could also mean that shutdowns with worker furloughs are coming to the U.S.

The report noted that inventories are even shorter in “key industries.”

The report noted that the supply chain for microchips remains fragile and that demand far outweighs supply.

Production shortages of microchips coming from Asia have meant higher prices in items like smart phones, cars, and even washing machines. This is also during a time when people have become even more reliant on devices that employ these computer chips.


Twitter Takes Down Bummer of a Bot Account Tweeting Wordle Solution

Twitter recently suspended a bot account which was posting the solution to the next day’s puzzle on popular app Wordle.

The account “@wordinator” would send out this tweet: “Guess what. People don’t care about your mediocre linguistic escapades. To teach you a lesson, tomorrow’s word is _____” Filling in the blank with tomorrow’s solution to the puzzle.

Twitter stated that the account violated the platform’s rules surrounding automated messages and unsolicited @mentions. The social media app’s terms of service clearly state an account cannot disrupt other users’ experiences which includes sending a high volume of unsolicited replies.

It wasn’t difficult for the bot to find the answers to future puzzles as the answers to Wordles’ puzzles are easily found in its source code. Words are simply assigned a date and store in the player’s browser.

Thousands of Wordle players post their scores on Twitter daily and often discussing how few or many tries it took them to solve the puzzle. The popularity of the Wordle game has skyrocketed recently because of people sharing their results online.

The New York Times has recently interviewed Josh Wardle who claims he built the game for his partner who loves word games. And. Yes. Even the game’s name is a play on words. After keeping the game just to his family, Wardle eventually took the app public.


Sorting Out the Disney+ Movie Release Schedule

The MCU movie Eternals has finally arrived to Disney+ as part of the app’s standard catalog (no extra cost to subscribers).

It has been difficult to get a grip on Disney’s release schedule for new movies. Some have been released exclusively to theaters, some have been released to theaters and streaming on the same day, meanwhile others have been released long after their theatrical release.

Like the Marvel movie Shang-Chi, Eternals arrived very late in the release cycle, unlike how Disney films had been released in the last year. Eternals came out about 68 days after worldwide release in theaters.

Pre-pandemic a film took between 5 to 8 months after its theatrical release to become part of the standard catalog on Disney+. The theatrical exclusive period pre-pandemic was typical 75-90 days.

Previously online rental, Blu-ray and DVD would be the first home watching options after the theatrical exclusive period. Now Disney has skipped Disney+ to the front of the line over these other home viewing mediums where previously Disney+ would follow digital rentals and physical copies.

Also, keep in mind that subscribing to a month of Disney+ cost less than half the amount a 24-48 rental does. For example, a digital rental or download of Eternals cost about $20 while a month of Disney+ is only $8 (just remember to cancel if you don’t want to continue subscription!).


Change Your Default Mail and Browser App, iOS 15

While many love Apple’s iOS mobile devices one frustration has been the inability to use your preferred mail or web browsing app. Now in iOS 15 Apple has released its grip, somewhat, on these items and will now allow you to set a different default mail or web browsing app.

For one to use another app for web browsing or email, the developer has to have updated their app to support the new feature on iOS. Users should make sure to check the App Store for an update to your favorite email or web app. After one knows the app will support it this is what one needs to do.

Open the Settings on your iPhone or iPad. When one finds the app they want to set to default, Google Chrome or Microsoft Outlook for example, select the appropriate option: Default Browser or Default Email App. Select the correct option Default Browser App or Default Email App. Then one should pick from the list of available apps on the next screen. After this, back out of settings.

Now if one clicks a link or email app their preferred app will handle the job instead of the iOS default.


BlackBerry Devices Become Abandonware

As of earlier this month your classic BlackBerry cellphone will no longer function. The company will stop offering support for its classic devices—anything running BlackBerry 10, 7.1 OS and earlier. Any device not running on Android will cease to function entirely. This means no data, no text messages, no internet access, and no phone calls—including 911.

Many, maybe most, cellphone users have gone on from BlackBerry. The latest versions of its OS was released in 2013. The company announced the news originally in 2020. They will go on as BlackBerry Limited and offer security software and services to governments and businesses.

BlackBerry’s original cellphone featuring a physical keyboard was THE cellphone to own for image concerned business people around the turn of the century. Once nicknamed “CrackBerries” they were most popular among professionals who liked the ability to work outside the office using the BlackBerry’s physical keyboard and software tools they used on a desktop computer.

They were a Wall Street status symbol as well as an accessory for famous faces like Kim Kardashian. Even former President Barack Obama was know for his love of his BlackBerry, party because of the high level of security they offered.

Blackberry phones offered many things standard cellphones didn’t do or didn’t do well or securely—email, apps, web browsing and an encrypted text message system called BBM that came well before options like WhatsApp.

However, BlackBerry never kept up with touchscreen revolution that started with Apple’s iPhone in 2007. BlackBerry has continued to find some success via enterprise and auto software. And some fans are still holding out for the Onward Mobility BlackBerry 5G device that was expected to launch this year, which seems unlikely at this late hour.






Google Maps Help Capture Mafia Fugitive

The Italian police have caught a high-profile mafia fugitive. The fugitive has been on the lamb for almost two decades until, with the help of Goolge Maps, investigators apprehended him.

After two years of investigation, 61 year old Gioacchino Gammino was tracked to Galapagar, Spain. He lived in Galapagar under a false identity. The town is just outside the nation’s capital, Madrid.

A simple photo in the street view option offered by Google Maps pictured a man who looked suspiciously like Gammino out front of a fruit shop. This photo was instigated a deeper investigation.

According to Nicola Altiero, deputy director of Italy’s anti-mafia police unit, confirmed that the photo helped confirm what the unit believed to be true about Gammino’s whereabouts through traditional investigation methods.

Gammino is a member of the Sicilian mafia group called Stidda. He escaped Rome’s Rebibbia jail in 2002. In 2003 he was sentenced to life in prison for a murder committed some years earlier.

Altiero stated that Gammino is currently in custody in Spain and they hope to return him to Italy by the end of February.



iOS Secret Trackpad

Sometimes navigating the cursor through a text message or email on your iPhone can be frustrating when all you can do is try and tap the spot you where you want to insert the cursor. Especially when working on a longer message. However, Apple may have you covered with the hidden track inside iOS’s keyboard.

How to Unlock Your iPhone or iPad’s Concealed Trackpad

Finding the invisible track pad inside the iOS keyboard is quite easy. Just a few gestures away.

Anywhere a user has a text entry dialog open—a block of text they are writing, bring up the keyboard. Press and hold a finger down on the space key. The keyboard will go blank (no characters will be visible). One should feel a haptic response (if haptics are active). The cursor will also get bigger for a moment. This means you’ve activated the trackpad.

With one’s finger still pressed down, move it around anywhere on the keyboard to move the cursor inside the text dialog. To place the cursor lift one’s finger.

Now the keyboard will restore itself and one can make any edits they need to. If you need to move the cursor again, follow the same process.



Moxie: the Emotionally Intelligent Robot Friend For Children

Although released in 2020 Moxie, the blue body, cartoon eye Moxie robot who wants to befriend your child might be one of the hot, high end toys of Christmas 2021. It currently retails at the manufacturer’s website for wallet-busting $799.

The companion robot was designed to support social, cognitive and emotional development in kids between five and ten. It does this via play based learning or lessons on things like turn-taking and eye contact. The company Emobided launched Moxie in 2020 at a much higher price point of $1,500, currently their website lists the regular price as $999 but currently reduced to $799. They are based in Pasadena, California.

Embodied has stated that their goal is to create robots that will benefit society. They say Moxie builds a relationship with children by teaching them how to label and navigate their emotions.

Moxie is equipped with microphones, sensors and cameras and has the benefit of expert technologist, and expert story tellers from Disney and the Jim Henson Company.

Time, in 2020, listed it as a one of the top inventions of the year.

According to the company, Moxie tries to rethink what human and machine interaction could be and they are rethinking these interactions by making Moxie socially and emotionally intelligent.

They believe inventions like Moxie could increase the emotional intelligence of soft skills that will make the next generation of children more balanced people as members of society.





Very Human Robot Writes Poetry and Creates Art

Artificial intelligence has been a part of science fiction for years and has often been portrayed as anywhere from troubling to outright evil.

AI is not commonly associated with things like art and poetry, but that is the purpose of the very realistic human-like robot, Ai-Da, invented by Aidan Meller in Oxford, England. She spends her time creating poetry and visual art. She is the worlds first robot of her kind and publicly performed some of her poetry that she wrote using her AI. The poetry was in celebration of famous Italian poet Dante.

Ai-Da performed her poetry recital at the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford University as part of an exhibition marking Dante’s 700th death anniversary.

Ai-Da’s poem was a response to Dante’s “Divine Comedy.” Ai-Da’s AI analyzed Dante’s writing patterns and vocabulary but also her own databank of words—between the two her AI created the final product.

Ai-Da’s creator, Meller, stated that her ability to imitate human writing is so incredible it is hard to know it wasn’t written by a human.

Ai-Da doesn’t only write poetry, she also is very capable of creating works of art. She made one of the Dante exhibition. It was inspired by her own experience in Egypt when security forces detained Ai-Da and Meller over security concerns over the cameras in her eyes, which they wanted to remove. The piece is titled “Eyes Wide Shut.”

Little Tikes Released “Pellican” Stationary Bike for Kids, Childhood Development Experts Not Impressed

The new indoor cycling craze (a la’ Peloton bikes) has now become available for young children; however, child development experts aren’t excited about it.

Well known toymaker Little Tikes attempted to mimic Peloton’s recent stationary bike success by building versions for children to enjoy alongside their parents, according to a statement by the toymaker.

Little Tikes’ Pelican stationary bike for kids 3-7 was released this summer. Like Pelotons it has a screen attached for watching videos. Pelotons come standard with a screen that displays exercise classes, intended to add a touch of socialization to home exercise. Pelotons cost $1,495 and then there is a monthly fee of $39 to view video classes.

Little Tikes stated they saw a way for kids to have fun with their parents and want to inspire an active and imagination filled lifestyle among kids.

Similar products have been tried before. Fisher-Price released a stationary bike for kids in 2017. It was available on Amazon, originally costing $150, it was later lowered to a $100 price tag and eventually discontinued. Neither company commented on why.

But child development experts aren’t having it. They say a stationary bicycle, especially one with a screen attached, is a step backward for what a bicycle can mean to child development. Kids riding a stationary bike lose the learning experiences that come from roaming their neighborhood on foot or on bike.

Basically, childhood development experts say that a stationary bike for kids cannot replace the social experiences they will have exploring their neighborhood with friends on a real bike. They claim kids need to interact in the real world to learn how to socialize and work out problems in real life.