Blog Posts by Tori Floyd

  • The researchers claim 70 per cent accuracy with their current tweet-scanning model. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

    Reading through someone’s Twitter feed can quickly tell you what they ate for lunch and what they thought of last night’s Master Chef, but one study thinks it can also tell you if they are depressed.

    Research is currently underway at Microsoft Research Redmond into how an automated system could be used to scan Twitter feeds for signs of depression.

    Eric Horvitz, co-director of the group, told TIMEthat he thinks the technology is possible, and they’re working to make it happen.

    “We wondered if we could actually build measures that might be able to detect if someone is severely depressed, just in publicly posted media. What are people telling the world in public spaces?” asks Horvitz. “You might imagine tools that could make people aware of a swing in mood, even before they can feel it themselves.”

    So far, Horvitz and his team have developed a model that can scan tweets and predict depression in Twitter users with a claimed 70 per cent accuracy. They’re still working on increasing the

    Read More »from Twitter feed can help predict depression, researchers find
  • Must-See Videos of the Week: Jan. 26-Feb. 1

    It’s been another week of snow and chilly weather here in Toronto, so I’m still in need of reminders about a) why snow is awesome and b) that it won’t be this cold forever. In Australia, for example, right now they’re enjoying some hot summer weather, and it’s a good reminder that in just a few months, we’ll all be complaining about how unpleasantly hot it is and looking forward to more snow. Here are this week’s must-see videos:

    As a part of this year’s Australia Day celebrations, which took place on Jan. 27, Steven Boag created this giant slip’n’slide on his parents’ farm. The result is an epic ride that would be every kid on summer vacation’s dream come true.

    If this little guy’s enthusiasm for snow doesn’t re-ignite your passion for winter, it’s time to move to warmer climates. This enthusiastic and wiggly puppy named Ari is a tad tentative when he first encounters snow, but is quickly bounding through it like a pro.

    Speaking of pros, you have to be incredibly talented to

    Read More »from Must-See Videos of the Week: Jan. 26-Feb. 1
  • (Screengrab of my results from Techland)If you’ve ever found yourself wondering how much time you’ve spent scrolling through your news feed, ‘liking’ friends’ status updates or jealously flipping through your old classmates’ vacation albums, wonder no longer: TIME has a way to find out the answer.

    TIME Magazine’s Techland blog has developed a nifty little calculator to help you figure out the total time you have spent on Facebook over the period you’ve belonged to the social network. The tool has been posted ahead of the ten year anniversary of, as it was first known. That’s right, Mark Zuckerberg’s conception of the site in a Harvard dorm room took place a decade ago.

    The tool works like this: You enter in the average number of minutes a day you spend on Facebook, then after authorizing the app to go through your Facebook account, runs through the timestamps of every post you’ve made to Facebook until it reaches the earliest one. It assumes that is your approximate join date, then calculates, if you spent

    Read More »from How much time have you wasted on Facebook? New tool has the answer
  • Man runs back into burning building to save Xbox

    Some people just don’t seem to have their priorities straight.

    A man in Olathe, Kan. may need to have a good, long think about what he values most in life after a recent fire at his house. He woke up early last Friday to discover his house engulfed in flames, ABC 15 reports, and ran outside to escape.

    Shortly after, however, he ran back inside to get his Xbox. The news story doesn’t specify whether it was an original Xbox, an Xbox 360, or an Xbox One. Upon returning to the burning building, he suffered smoke inhalation, fire officials say.

    An electrical junction box is being pointed to as the cause of the fire, and has caused approximately $80,000 in damages, the Olathe Edge reports.

    [ More Right Click: Pizza Hut’s Xbox 360 app brings $1 million in orders in four months ]

    “Fire and smoke damage was extensive throughout the one-story home,” a representative from the Olathe fire department said in a statement. “Firefighters remind everyone to check their home’s smoke alarms by pressing

    Read More »from Man runs back into burning building to save Xbox
  • Ever thought it would be cool to have something other than “.com” at the end of your website URL? If you find .ca and .net just a tad blasé too, you’re in luck: On Feb. 4, the largest number of generic top-level domain names (gTLDs, or the suffix to any URL) will come into existence, opening up a whole new world of possible kooky domain names.

    About 1,000 new gTLDs will start to go live Feb. 4, Quartz reports, and anyone can buy a domain name with the gTLD of his or her choosing. In 2012, companies applied for gTLDs they wished to own, and those that were approved will be going live next month. Companies like Google and Amazon applied for lots of them, 101 and 76 respectively, but not as much as a firm set up specifically to buy domain names, called Donuts, who applied for 307 altogether. In total, 1,930 applications were received by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), and 751 of the names are contested, meaning more than one company applied for ownership.

    Read More »from Ready for .sucks or .sexy? New domain names available next week
  • While Google’s new Glass hardware is pretty cool, it certainly wasn’t … well, pretty. It’s vaguely dorky vibe hasn’t seemed to have been a problem for its early adopters in its Explorer program. Ahead of the product’s wide launch later this year, though, Google has announced new glasses and sunglasses with Glass built right in.

    Google posted this video of the new looks to YouTube:

    Not only will the new frames make the technology look a touch less like you’re attending a sci-fi convention in costume, but you can also add prescription lenses. According to The Associated Press, the glasses can be taken to any vision care provider to be fitted with your prescription, and some insurance plans will cover the cost of the lenses. The frames themselves cost $225, while the sunglasses cost $150 – both in addition to the $1500 price tag for Glass.

    [ Related: Woman cited for driving while wearing Google Glass not guilty ]

    There are four available styles of titanium frames for glasses and three styles

    Read More »from Google Glass gets new frames, sunglasses for wider appeal
  • Must-see videos of the week: Jan. 19-25

    It's been another week of chilly weather here, so this week's must-see videos take a step back to appreciate the beauty of winter, dream about warmer beaches and introduce a creative activity you can do inside. Throw in a cool music video and a dramatic rescue in Syria to get five videos you just can't miss from the last seven days:

    Collingswood, N.J., resident Thomas Finer set up a camera to capture a time lapse view of a recent impending snowstorm. He let it roll for 24 hours and managed to capture this mesmerizing footage of his front yard and street transforming some bare grass into a winter wonderland.

    [ Last week's Must-See Videos: Stand-Up Comedian 'Talks to the Dead' ]

    At SoCal Corgi Beach Day in Huntington Beach, Calif., things can get a little crowded. So if you find that perfect spot, chances are you'll defend it like Fawkes here does from the insistent Ziggy. Watch as the two scrap it out over Fawkes' comfy, cozy hole in the sand.

    YouTube user cyotheking can do two things

    Read More »from Must-see videos of the week: Jan. 19-25
  • Worst passwords of 2013 include a new top no-no

    It seems that every year, despite warnings from security experts, we see people getting their account hacked or taken over because of easy-to-crack passwords. Just like setting the PIN number on your debit card to “0000” is a terrible idea, so is using an easy, largely impersonal password.

    Security firm SplashData has released its annual list of the worst passwords to have, based on them being the most popularly-used passwords. The firm takes stolen passwords that have been posted online over the course of the year, and assembles a list of the 25 most frequently appearing passwords.

    [ More Right Click: Last year’s top 25 worst passwords ]

    (Image from SplashData)

    This year’s results are somewhat skewed, PC World explains, on account of the massive data breach of Adobe login information in October 2013. The rise in popularity of “123456,” this year’s new most-common password, could be at least somewhat attributed to almost 100 million of the Adobe accounts being test accounts or inactive, which may skew its

    Read More »from Worst passwords of 2013 include a new top no-no
  • Must-see videos of the week: Jan. 12-18

    Take some time to appreciate the many hobbies of people online this week. Some love to sing. Others are great comedians. And some people collect strange things — like Gatorade. See all that and more in this week's must-see videos:

    Whether or not you believe in psychics, after watching this video, you'll have to take your next supernatural encounter with a grain of salt. Comedian Harrison Greenbaum approaches tourists and convinces them he has psychic powers that allow him to commune with the dead.

    [ Last week's Must-See Videos: Discover the art of 'shmallowing' ]

    This poor man is being forced to part with his beloved collection of Gatorade flavours and he decided to film the sad occasion. Towards the end, you can see him get quite emotional about giving up his favourites — and his buddy thinks it's a riot.

    It'd be tough for most singers to compete with the musical stylings of stage and screen star Idina Menzel, so for someone so young to take on a big song like Let It Go from the new

    Read More »from Must-see videos of the week: Jan. 12-18
  • Fears over NSA spying have prompted people around the world to think about security differently, whether it be petitioning for companies to better secure their data or changing the information they share online. In particular, security around smartphones has been of great concern, as people increasingly surf the web, make calls and send messages from their mobile devices.

    An international group of privacy enthusiasts have come together to create Blackphone, a smartphone that claims it will help to better protect your information.

    Mashable writes that Blackphone is the brainchild of Silent Circle and Geekosphere, with participation from big players in the fight for information privacy and computer security. Phil Zimmermann, creator of data encryption protocol PGP (Pretty Good Privacy), is one of the minds behind the device.

    “Blackphone provides users with everything they need to ensure privacy and control of their communications, along with all the other high-end smartphone features they

    Read More »from Blackphone professes to be a more secure, possibly NSA-proof, smartphone


(790 Stories)