Tag Archives: Google

Queens Library now loaning mobile hot spots


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Queens Library

Queens residents have a new way to connect on the go, and all they need is a library card.

Mobile hot spots are currently available for loan at select Queens Library locations. The devices, which are smaller than most cell phones, provide Internet access to any Wi-Fi-enabled device, such as a computer, tablet or smartphone, in almost any location.

First-time users will just need to show a photo ID and fill out an agreement to borrow the device. They are available on loan for one month at a time and can be renewed up to three times.

Library card holders can pick up the hot spots at branch locations at 89-11 Merrick Blvd., Jamaica; 1637 Central Ave., Far Rockaway; and 108-19 71st Ave., Forest Hills. They also will be available at Queens Library in Flushing, at 41-17 Main St., on Dec. 5, and at the Jackson Heights branch, at 35-51 81st St., on Dec. 12.

The library locations lending the devices are also lending free Google tablets. Google’s $1 million donation, along with a $500,000 grant from the Knight News Challenge, an initiative of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Open Society Foundations, and Robin Hood Foundation, made the hot spot program possible, according to the library.

“Far too many New Yorkers do not have regular access to the Internet, and as a result find themselves excluded from a wealth of education, employment and community resources,” said Ben Fried, Google’s chief information officer. “This innovative program to loan hotspots to low-income households is a simple, effective way to help those who need broadband and technology the most. With this donation of $1 million and W-Fi-enabled Chromebooks, Google hopes to give some of the most underserved in our city a way to bridge the tech divide.”

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Google in talks to buy LIC-based Songza: report


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Songza

Long Island City-based free music streaming service Songza is in talks to be bought by Google, according to a published report.

The tech giant had previously been looking for a streaming service and is offering Songza $15 million, according to the New York Post.

Songza co-founder Eric Davich said he could not comment.

Songza, which provides music to about 5 million users in the United States and Canada, delivers the listener the right music at the right time through the biggest library of expertly curated playlists through an Android, iPod, iPad or PC. All the playlists are handpicked by music experts and DJs.

The music on the playlists on Songza, which on average feature 60 to 80 songs, are personalized to each listener based on implicit behavior, like pressing thumbs up or down to a song, or explicit behavior, such as your habits and when you listen to certain music. Songza takes into account data; such as time of day, time of week, and the device you are using, to recommend playlists based on the moment.

“We’ve always been keen in figuring out the best way to help people discover music,” Davich previously told The Courier. “Music is something that people consume as a lifestyle enhancement. It’s not something people consume as a product.”

 

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TSA apologizes to elderly women for strip search at Kennedy Airport


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

TSA apologizes to elderly women for strip search at Kennedy Airport

In an about-face, the feds have admitted wrongdoing in the cases of two elderly women who say they were strip-searched at Kennedy Airport by overzealous screeners. Federal officials had initially insisted that all “screening procedures were followed” after Ruth Sherman, 89, and Lenore Zimmerman, 85, went public with separate accounts of humiliating strip searches. But in a letter obtained by the Daily News, the Homeland Security Department acknowledges that screeners violated standard practice in their treatment of the ailing octogenarians last November. Read More: Daily News

Governor Cuomo’s public pension bomb

Gov. Cuomo lobbed a political grenade at New York’s powerful public-employee unions yesterday, proposing a radical pension overhaul for future city and state workers as part of his $132.5 billion state budget plan. Cuomo said the plan would save New York City $30 billion in pension costs over 30 years, while saving $83 billion for the state and local governments outside the city over the same period. “We can no longer sustain the current pension system,” Cuomo said, citing a projected 185 percent treasury-busting increase in pension costs from 2009 to 2015 if nothing is done. Read More: New York Post

Bayside mourns beloved father of six

When Lawrence Hilsdorf was laid to rest, an entire community cried. The 55-year-old, affectionately known as “Larry,” was more than just a Bayside resident – he was a neighborhood icon, and his roots in the community ran deep. He went to Sacred Heart, then Bayside High School, before settling to raise his own family in the area. The father of six boys – Charlie, 25, James, 20, twins Billy and Bobby, 18, Patrick, 15, and Jack, 13 – Larry put his life on the line as a police officer beginning in 1981, first with the Queens North Task Force, and then with the 114th Precinct in Astoria. Read More: Queens Courier

Hunt for cruise victims on hold as wreckage shifts

Italian rescue workers suspended operations Wednesday after a stricken cruise ship shifted slightly on the rocks near the Tuscan coast, creating deep concerns about the safety of divers and firefighters searching for the 22 people still missing. The $450 million Costa Concordia cruise ship had more than 4,200 passengers and crew on board when it slammed into the reef Friday off the tiny Italian island of Giglio after the captain made an unauthorized maneuver. The bodies of five adult passengers — four men and one woman, all wearing lifejackets — were discovered in the wreckage Tuesday, raising the death toll to 11. Their nationalities were not immediately released. Read More: New York Post

Giants passing game could slip against 49ers if weather is bad

There is zero percent chance the Giants will be able to operate their high-flying passing attack at peak efficiency Sunday against the 49ers in the NFC Championship. Anyone who thinks they can is all wet. The cohesive, rugged, old-school (think defense first) 49ers would be a challenge no matter where and no matter what the conditions, but looming up ahead is the true test whether or not the Giants are an all-weather team. After a rousing 37-20 Divisional beatdown of the defending champion Packers in the cold at Lambeau Field, go figure that a trip to northern California could be fraught with soggy peril for the Giants. Read More: New York Post

Wikipedia goes dark in protest of anti-piracy legislation

Free online knowledge site Wikipedia has gone dark as part of a protest over legislation in the US Congress intended to crack down on online piracy. The English version of the online encyclopedia shut down at midnight Tuesday ET. The website will be inaccessible for 24 hours to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) introduced in the House of Representatives and the Senate version, the Protect IP Act (PIPA). It was replaced with a message that read, “Imagine a World Without Free Knowledge.” “For over a decade, we have spent millions of hours building the largest encyclopedia in human history. Right now, the US Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open internet. For 24 hours, to raise awareness, we are blacking out Wikipedia,” it went on. Read More: New York Post

Residents Protest Jackson Heights Supermarket

Some Jackson Heights residents and elected officials have declared the Trade Fair store on 37th Avenue a blight on the neighborhood and are rallying for it to clean up its act. Read More & Watch the Video: NY1

Two Correction Officers Sentenced In Connection With 2008 Rikers Assaults

After reaching a plea deal with the Bronx district attorney’s office, former Correction Officers Michael McKie and Khalid Nelson learned their fates Tuesday in State Supreme Court in the Bronx. City investigators said the pair were among officers at Rikers Island running an intimidation campaign known as “the program,” and they had ordered teenage inmates to beat up others to maintain discipline in the adolescent unit. McKie, seen above left, who pleaded guilty to assault, was sentenced to two years in state prison. Nelson, seen above right, who pleaded guilty to attempted assault, was sentenced to one year. Read More: NY1