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The MLB is about to see an entirely new way to steal signs

(TECH NEWS) A few weeks ago, the Red Sox got in trouble for stealing Yankees signs with an Apple Watch. They were stealing signs but not with Apple Watches.

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CAUGHT RED(SOX)-HANDED

Earlier this month, the Boston Red Sox got caught stealing signs during a recent Yankees series game. The Red Sox’s video replay personnel reportedly used an Apple Watch to steal hand signals from rival catchers, utilizing live footage and messaging. While useful, this is technically not allowed.

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The technology driven-thievery would have made for some nice, sports-oriented promotional material for Apple. However, now it appears the Sox used a Fitbit, not an Apple Watch.

STEALING THROUGH THE AGES

Here’s some brief background if you’re like me and thought this news meant the teams were stealing physical signs like billboards from each other. Catchers use hand signals to communicate with pitchers, signaling what kinds of pitches to throw using team-specific codes. If the opposing team has this information and relays it to their teammates, the batter has a much better chance of hitting the ball by knowing the pitch in advance.

Sign-stealing isn’t anything new in the baseball world.

Prior to wearables and video screens, runners on second based would observe the pitcher’s signals and try to notify the batter. This isn’t exactly considered cheating, and is actually permitted as long as players are only using their bodies and voices to communicate.

TECH UPDATE

Now we have live video streams and devices to communicate in real time, like the Apple Watch. Using replay technology for stealing signs is forbidden, however, and the Red Sox may end up getting fined. Brian Cashman, the Yankees general manager filed a complaint with the commissioner’s office, including video the Yankees recorded of the Red Sox dugout where the stealing allegedly took place.

When confronted by the commissioner’s office, the Red Sox admitted their trainers were receiving signals from video replay personnel and relaying information to players.

Plot twist: the Red Sox filed a counter-complaint, claiming the Yankees used their YES television network to steal signs during the games. The Yankees were at least smart enough to deny it.

WHY CARE

Does it really matter if the Red Sox used an Apple Watch, Fitbit, or something else? Kind of, but also not really. This is one of those petty, pop culture moments that could have given Apple an edge with its sports fans. Basically, if an Apple Watch was good enough for the Red Sox to use against its enemies, it’s good enough for fans to do…whatever.

Now Fitbit gets to potentially have that glory. Upon further investigation, it’s likely a Fitbit Blaze was used by the Red Sox. I’m completely unclear how a step counting smartwatch could be utilized for this, but hey, a few days ago Fitbit shares were looking good so they’re doing something right. Stay tuned to find out if anyone is going to get in any trouble for the unauthorized use of smartwatches.

#FitBitSign

Lindsay is an editor for The American Genius with a Communication Studies degree and English minor from Southwestern University. Lindsay is interested in social interactions across and through various media, particularly television, and will gladly hyper-analyze cartoons and comics with anyone, cats included.

Tech News

Jenzy helps perfectly measure your kids’ feet

(TECH NEWS) Jenzy is a mobile app currently in beta that helps you perfectly measure your kids feet and buy shoes without having to leave your home.

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Parents rejoice, there’s now a mobile app that sizes your child’s feet to determine their correct shoe size. No more carpet charts that every kid has put their dirty little socked foot on, or those weird metal sizing instruments.

With Jenzy, you just take a picture of your child’s foot, and the app calculates the measurements. It then generates personalized size and style recommendations, which you can order directly from the app.

Jenzy partners with podiatrist recommended brands designed for active kids, including pediped, Robeez, and Morgan & Milo. However, you don’t have to purchase their suggestions to receive the sizing info.

Incorrectly sized shoes are a literal pain for everyone, but this especially affects children, who don’t have purchasing power.

Additionally, shoes that don’t fit can have long-term effects on children’s growth and development, and lead to foot problems in the future. Properly fitted shoes are necessary for healthy foot development.

Wearing incorrectly sized shoes is just part of the problem. If shoes aren’t suited for every day use, children’s feet and overall growth can also suffer.

Flip flops, ballet pumps, and shoes with raised heels are not recommended by podiatrists for frequent use, as they can cause discomfort, or even musculoskeletal issues.

According to Dr. Stewart Morrison, a University of Brighton podiatrist, “children’s feet are still growing and are more susceptible to damage than adult feet, so it’s really vital to ensure they are wearing shoes which fit them well – in width as well as length – and that are suitable for age, as well as the task they are wearing them for.”

As online shopping has taken over, fewer parents are getting their children’s feet sized by in-store experts. Of course, there’s also a cost-barrier, as many stores that offer shoe-sizing are often more expensive.

Jenzy hopes to bridge that gap, providing parents both proper shoe sizes and affordable products designed to last.

Right now the app is set to launch in December, but if you don’t want to wait, apply to take part in the beta test on Jenzy’s site.

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Tech News

Time is money and Clockify helps you make the most

(TECH NEWS) Tracking your time worked as a freelancer can easily be lost in the shuffle. A new tool has been designed to make this important aspect easier.

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After years of searching for a method that works for me in terms of organization and productivity, the answer seemed to be simple: a calendar I can write on and Post-It notes. This method is a little old school, but seems to get the job done for my organizational needs.

However, there are some things that slip through the cracks with this method, but it’s more user error than it is the actual practice. One thing I struggle with is keeping track of my freelance hours this way.

I have a tendency to guesstimate how much time I worked throughout the day and know that I wind up underdocumenting my hours. I would hate to know how much money I’ve missed out on keeping (sometimes inaccurate) handwritten notes.

But, like many other small scale issues, there is a simple solution. And that is found in the form of time trackers.

One of the newest members to join the online time tracker team is Clockify, who operates under the idea of “your time, your rules.” It is a free time tracking tool designed for agencies and freelancers.

Clockify allows users to manage as many team members, projects, and workspaces that you need in an effort to help your business run smoothly. This allows for a complete overview of team productivity.

The tool offers a way to enter time manually as well as clock time automatically. This way you can keep tabs on what you’re working on and assign and label time logs to the appropriate clients.

With this time tracking, you are able to generate weekly, monthly, and annual reports at any given time. These reports can be saved, exported, and shared with clients to give them more information about your work process.

The real-time tracking helps to improve business efficiency and gives more insight into what each team member is spending their time on. Having this information available can give visual representation of how to improve in the future.

Clockify currently exists in desktop format with iOS and Android apps coming soon.

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Tech News

Russia vetoed cryptocurrency and came back with CryptoRuble

(TECH NEWS) Russia put a hard pass on other cryptocurrencies in their country so that they could hop in the crypto-game with their own CryptoRuble.

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Just days after The American Genius reported that the Russian Central Bank would attempt to block access to cryptocurrency trading cites, the Coin Telegraph has reported that the Russian government will issue its very own cryptocurrency, the CryptoRuble.

The report cited local Russian papers, who quoted the minister of communications, Nikolay Nikiforov.

Earlier this week, head of the Central Bank, Sergei Shvetsov, said that he would work with the Prosecutor General’s Office to ban Russian citizens from accessing cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, calling such currencies a “negative phenomena for our markets” and a “pyramid scheme.”

Now it appears that the Kremlin will create its own cryptocurrency – one it can keep an eye on — which, some might argue, defeats the entire purpose of cryptocurrency.

However, like other cryptocurrencies the CryptoRuble will be based on blockchain and will presumably help prevent online fraud.

CryptoRubles will be exchangeable with regular Rubles, although the systems of exchange have not yet been set up. Experts think that Russia is hoping to stimulate e-commerce without the need for foreign money markets, which will allow them to have more independence from the United States.

According to Nikiforov, the Russian government is setting up its own cryptocurrency under the assumption that if they don’t, other European governments will.

Said NIkiforov, “I confidently declare that we run CryptoRuble for one simple reason: if we do not, then after two months our neighbors in the EurAsEC will.”

Traders using CryptoRubles will be asked to provide documentation of retail transactions and services rendered – or pay a 13 percent tax for undocumented transactions, leaving a wide loophole for money laundering.

Critics say that Russia is trying to facilitate, while also profiting from money laundering; that the Kremlin is stealing the market from other cryptocurrencies; and that the CryptoRuble fundamentally defies the spirit of decentralization that inspired other cryptocurrencies.

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