LaunchCode and The Idea Center at Miami Dade College to Offer Harvard-Based Computer Science Class

LaunchCode and The Idea Center at Miami Dade College to Offer Harvard-Based Computer Science Class.

By   @cfunk305

Non-profit LaunchCode and The Idea Center at Miami Dade Collegehave partnered to offer the introductory computer science courseCS50xMiami to the Miami community following the Harvard and edX class’s success as a pilot program. LaunchCode co-founder Jim McKelvey announced that the class will kick off with an event on May 22  at Miami Dade College’s Wolfson campus.

CS50xMiami is a live version of CS50x, Harvard’s introductory computer science class offered through edX, a massive open online course (MOOC) platform. The class prepares students for careers in technology through LaunchCode apprenticeships. The 16-week course requires no prior programming experience and gives students a solid foundation with which to pursue a career in computer programming.

Career Source South Florida and other generous sponsors are working to provide scholarships for CS50xMiami students–in order to participate, students should register as soon as possible and complete the assessment portion of the application.

Students can register at The application deadline is May 29th. LaunchCode first offered a live CS50x class in St. Louis in the spring of 2014. Both LaunchCode and The Idea Center at MDC are supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The event is free and open to the public.

Image Credit: TECH.CO

New technology prevents cell phone use while driving


The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted. Photo: Kekyalyaynen/Shutterstock.
The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted. Photo: Kekyalyaynen/Shutterstock.


Texting, talking on cell phones, checking e-mail and following social media have become almost like breathing – many Americans can’t survive more than a few seconds without doing any of these actions, and for teens this is especially true. When it comes to engaging in these activities behind the wheel, it becomes a parent’s greatest fear.

A recent survey by TransUnionfound that 66% of parents surveyed said their greatest concern involved their “child talking on or holding the phone” while behind the wheel of a vehicle. Texting, typing or interacting on the phone in some manner was their next biggest concern with 63% of parents worried about the impact of these behaviors on their teen’s driving ability. Only 34% of parents were worried about teens driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Because of the demand for products that discourage cell phone use behind the wheel, TransUnion and Cellcontrol have partnered to offer a new technology that reduces the opportunity for distracted driving.

“A new technology market for distracted driving solutions is evolving due to increased driving-related injuries and fatalities as a result of smart phone use,” said Mark McElroy, executive vice president of TransUnion’s insurance business unit. “While new laws have been passed in more than 40 states to regulate mobile phone calling and texting while driving, our partnership with Cellcontrol will provide additional benefits and security features to consumers. This is a positive example of how technology and information can help reduce insurance liability, accident costs, injuries and most importantly, the loss of human lives.”

Despite the fact that 74% of parents have told their teens to turn off their phones while driving, the TransUnion survey found this is still not enough to prevent distracted driving. According to a Pew survey, 40% of all American teens say “they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put people in danger.” A study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that “text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted.” And 11% of drivers aged 18-20 who were involved in an accident and survived admitted to either sending or receiving texts when they crashed according to the Federal Communications Commission.

Control by degrees

Cellcontrol’s proprietary DriveID technology has multiple modes of operation that allow technology usage in varying degrees. Protection mode will be the insurance industry’s first and only driver identification platform that ascertains who is driving and “immobilizes devices so that drivers cannot inappropriately use these devices while driving.”

In audit mode, the device can be used and monitored while driving, providing a clearer picture of the risks involved and allowing family discussions of them. The technology is capable of integrating with any platform and most mobile devices to provide a true picture of the driver’s performance.

It is possible for DriveID to stop all texting, phone calls, e-mails and web browsing while the teen is driving, but any emergency calls would be allowed through the system. Parents also have the option of allowing some functions in protection mode, as well as receiving speeding, hard braking, device tampering and tracking notifications.

The technology will be available directly to consumers as well as through programs for insurance carriers. “We created Cellcontrol to stop distracted driving and save lives,” said Cellcontrol CEO Robert Guba. “We’re not only creating a safer driving experience for our customers, we’re promoting safer driving habits in the process.  As a result, we’re already seeing some of our customers beginning to save money on their insurance premiums.”

The following info-graphic illustrates parents’ concerns with their teens’ distracted driving.


Mobile device Googling surpasses PCs for 1st time

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – May 6, 2015 – Google’s influential search engine has hit a tipping point in technology’s shift to smartphones. More search requests are now being made on mobile devices than on personal computers in the U.S. and many other parts of the world.

The milestone announced at a digital advertising conference Tuesday serves as another reminder of how dramatically online behavior has changed since 2007. That’s when Apple released the first iPhone, leading to a wave of similar devices that have made it easier for people to stay connected to the Internet wherever they go.

The upheaval has rocked PC makers and other tech companies such as Microsoft with businesses tied to sales of desktop and laptop computers. Google has been able to adapt better than most companies, partly because its search engine and other services are embedded in the popular Android mobile operating system, but it hasn’t been totally unscathed.

Google’s average ad prices have been declining for the past three-and-half years, partly because marketers so far have been unwilling to pay as much for the commercial message displayed on the smaller screens of smartphones. The company, though, says mobile ad prices have been steadily climbing and will continue to do so as marketers recognize the value of being able to connect with prospective customers at the precise moment that they are looking for someplace to eat, or comparing products on a smartphone while standing in a store.

“The future of mobile is now,” says Jerry Dischler, a Google Inc. vice president in charge of the company’s “AdWords” service for creating online marketing campaigns.

Beyond the U.S., Google’s mobile search requests are outstripping requests in nine other countries. Japan is the only other country that Google is identifying.

The Mountain View, California, company isn’t specifying just how many mobile search requests it is getting. Google processes more than 100 billion search requests worldwide each month, including queries on PCs.

As part of the mobile transition, Google last month overhauled its search-recommendation system to favor websites that are easier to read and load on smartphones. That change, known as “Mobilegeddon,” prodded millions of websites to make changes to ensure they work well on smartphones to avoid being demoted in Google’s search results.

Google also has been introducing advertising formats that tend to work better on mobile devices. For instance, rooms can now be booked within hotel ads, and car ads can now be swiped across a screen to make it easier to comparison shop.

In addition to announcing the milestone in mobile search, Google also introduced on Tuesday a service for comparing mortgage rates in the U.S. The mortgage product expands upon a similar service for auto insurance policies that Google unveiled in California in March. Google is adding three more states – Texas, Illinois and Pennsylvania – to the auto insurance service.