Christina Ortiz Dixon

Writer

I'm a freelance writer specializing in technology and science. Within this realm, I also like to explore what science and tech can contribute to everyday things like, retail, medicine, politics and everything else in between.

Portfolio
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Digitally Integrated Burberry Flagship Store Opens in London

Burberry's London flagship store recently underwent a renovation that turned the 192-year old building into a digitally integrated showroom for the luxury fashion brand. Last weekend, American Public Media's radio show, Marketplace Money, aired a feature about how some luxury brands are starting to hurt in the long-suffering economy even as inexpensive brands are thriving.

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Cisco VoIP Phone Flaw Could Plant Bugs In Your Cubicle

A new study has discovered a very exploitable flaw in Cisco's popular Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) phones, which could put millions of users in the enterprise and government at risk of remote eavesdropping. Cisco VoIP phones sit on some 50 million businesses and government office desks across the country and around the world.

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When Marketing To Women Becomes Pandering: The Floral Kiss

There are many examples where gender-specific marketing works: personal care, dietary supplements, alcohol. Then there are the examples that are just silly. Last week two pink "female friendly" items were introduced -- a laptop and an auto -- both trying to get a piece of the female market in a way that's probably unnecessary.

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Why Digital Maps Aren't Ready To Replace Paper

With the rise of smartphones, millions of people have tossed away their paper maps, instead relying on GPS and mapping apps on our phones to find a restaurant or plan a road trip. But is that really a good thing? Surprisingly enough, there's a lot of academic research into the digital versus paper maps issue.

Discovery
6,000 Light Bulbs Make Cloud Art

Earlier this month in Alberta, Canada, at the Nuit Blanche Calgary, an exhibit called CLOUD showed how even the simplest inventions still inspire awe and wonder. The art installation, which was set up in Olympic Plaza park,was made up of 6,000 light bulbs: 1,000 working and 5,000 burnt out.

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U.S. Cyber Command To Recruit 4,000 new Cyber Soldiers

Over the next few years the U.S. Cyber Command, an army of 900 military personnel and civilians who monitor and defend against cyber attacks, is set to grow by 4,000 cyber soldiers. The command will expand its role in national defense by becoming a new kind of fighting force, one that protects the Internet safety of the entire country.

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Study Links Multiple Media Usage To Depression And Anxiety

A report published this week by Michigan State University's psychology department found evidence that using multiple forms of media at the same time is linked to symptoms of anxiety and depression. The study was conducted with data from two surveys of 319 undergraduate students, a group that engages in a lot of media multi-tasking.

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What's Behind the eBay-Intuit Anti-Compete Agreement?

Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against eBay for a non-competition agreement it had signed with Intuit. The agreement prevents either company from trying to hire someone from the other's staff.

Discovery
'Smart Village' Sets Example for Poverty Relief

A model village in Mayalsia is changing the way communities tackle poverty. Rimbunan Kaseh, a rural village sitting on 30 acres of land near Kuala Lumpur, was built to serve as an example of how to address rural poverty issues by promoting environmental sustainability with technology.

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What Verisign's New Contract With ICANN Means For Domain Name Rates

Verisign, the operator for .com domain registry, has renewed its six-year contract with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names (ICANN) with the U.S. Commerce Department's blessing. Under the new contract, Verisign is not allowed to raise its current price of $7.85 per domain name. Unless, of course, it can convince the Commerce Department it's OK.

Discovery
6,000 Light Bulbs Make Cloud Art

Earlier this month in Alberta, Canada, at the Nuit Blanche Calgary, an exhibit called CLOUD showed how even the simplest inventions still inspire awe and wonder. The art installation, which was set up in Olympic Plaza park,was made up of 6,000 light bulbs: 1,000 working and 5,000 burnt out.

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Brazen Apple Store Robberies Bracket 2012

Apple store robberies may not be the crimes of the century, but they should get consideration for crimes of the year. Especially the latest one in Paris on New Year's Eve, which followed others at the beginning and middle of 2012.

Discovery
A USB Stick For The Crypto-Geek In Us All

Crypteks: $130-$160 If you've ever had a nosy roommate, parent or sibling, you know that keeping information private is extremely difficult, especially in this digital age. Crypteks USB is a DaVinci Code- esque USB drive that not only has a physical lock code, but also has 256-bit AES encryption enforced by a password.

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Black Friday Vs. Cyber Monday: Toward A New Shopping Calendar

Are Black Friday and Cyber Monday fighting a battle neither of them can win? It certainly looks that way as shopping landscape shifst both online and offline. A few holiday seasons down the road, both big-deal days may seem as quaint and dated as Sears Catalogs and keeping stores closed on Sundays.

Discovery
Acoustics Extinguish Fire

DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) has developed a technique that extinguishes fire by using sound. And before you break out your stereo to full blast the next time your dinner catches on fire, let's remember that this experiment was done in a controlled space with trained professionals.

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Facebook Posts Are More Memorable Than Faces and Books

We may pine for the days when reading a long article transported us to a new world or gave insight into something we've never thought about, but apparently our brains aren't wired for that kind of communication. The most accurate peek into the chatter of our inner minds, in fact, is Facebook status updates.

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Google Changes SafeSearch Filtering Of Explicit Results

Internet porn surfers everywhere were crying foul last week over Google's decision to change its "SafeSearch" feature to exclude adult content from searches. Anyone that uses Google to find adult images will likely notice something different when they type in their dirty little specifics: less skin, more filtering.

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What Will It Take For Windows Phone 8 To Land A Deal With The Navy?

The Department of the Navy's chief information officer, Terry Halvorsen spoke with reporters on November 26 about efforts the Navy is making in data center consolidation and mobile technology. Halvorsen didn't provide specifics on new platforms from mobile providers for the Navy, but he did indicate that the service is interested in moving in a more mobile direction.

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World's Fastest Supercomputer, Brought to You By Game Tech

Titan, the supercomputer introduced by the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL), is on track to be the world's fastest. At least until the next one comes along. It can handle over 20,000 trillion calculations a second. That's the equivalent of seven billion people carrying out three million calculations per second.

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Just How Hard Is It To Get And Use A 3D Printer?

3D printing seems to be everywhere these days, used to create everything from handguns to headphones. But what does it really take to get started: How much does it cost, how difficult is it to use, and how do you actually get your hands on a 3D printer?

Discovery
Traffic Signals Inspired By Insects

Why does it always seem that when there's no traffic, a stop light is too long and when there's tons of traffic, a stop light is too short? Managing the flow of cars is a big challenge for many urban planners.

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"Camera Tossing" Fad Gets Serious With Nikon Patent

Among a certain class of shutterbugs, there's a whole new genre called "camera toss" photography. Nikon knows about the phenomenon, apparently, because last week a patent from the company was published that shows how it's planning to build this feature into a new kind of camera. What Is Camera Tossing?

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Why Is Apple Still Holding On To iPods? Because We Still Need Them

Everything coming from Apple is a multi-tasker, including the iPod. But, out of all of the devices in Apple's lineup, the iPod Nano and Shuffle are the closest thing it has to a uni-tasker. Sure, the Nano can broadcast radio, track fitness, play videos and even make a decent compass, but it's main job is play music.

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Shut Up Your Phone By Giving It A Whack - Thanks To Microsoft

Like a child that blabs family secrets at work functions, or a mom that shows baby pictures when meeting a new girl friend, mobile phones can be so embarassing. Microsoft, of all companies, has a plan to help - it's filed for a patent on a way to instantly silence a noisy phone simply by giving it a good whack.

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IBM Is Turning Watson Into A "Supercharged" Siri

IBM is working to turn its Jeopardy-winning supercomputer into the newest mobile device personal assistant. Dubbed "Watson 2.0," the system would be a voice-activated "supercharged" version of Siri, at least that's how Bernie Meyerson, VP of Innovation at IBM, described it to Bloomberg this week.

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New Federal Rules Would Make Your Biometric Data Internet-Accessible

Anyone can tell you that the future of information is in Web-based services like the cloud. Who would've thought, though, that this would also apply to the biological information that identifies who you are? The National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) developed a protocol for the capturing and storage of biometric information.

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Who Will Have The Biggest Impact On Your Wallet - Obama or Romney?

Politify is a recently launched web application that uses IRS and Census data to show a simulation of how President Obama and Mitt Romney's economic plans will impact areas of the country by zip code, even allowing users to zoom in on their own neighborhood.

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Here's Help Finding A Nearby "Office" Away From The Office

Working remotely is great - until it's not. Like when you're more enthusiastic about doing the laundry than doing your boss' bidding, or when you crave a watercooler conversation. Or any kind of conversation. A free iOS app called Work+ helps you find spots that more or less match the work atmosphere you seek.

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How to Use Games, Hacking Contests To Find Workers

While college recruitment and job fairs still have a place in the employment world, a little bit of creativity and social media know-how is worth its weight in talent if done the right way. Bringing new and creative people into a business is a difficult task, so some agencies are using social media and games to draw in exactly what they need.

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Roku Meets Time Warner: Baby Steps Towards A New Kind of TV

At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) on Monday, Roku announced a partnership with cable giant Time Warner Cable. Thanks to the agreement, 300 new live channels will be headed to the set-top streaming device via Time Warner's TWC TV app. The app lets customers watch TV with a Roku device instead of the standard company-issued cable box.

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Feeling Sick? Tweet It And Help Track Outbreaks

You know it's flu season when everyone on Twitter is talking about runny noses, germ-filled subway rides and obsessing over the effectiveness of their Purell. While potentially annoying, these kinds of tweets may help predict and monitor how illnesses like influenza are moving across the country.

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Apple To Enter The Music Streaming Arena

In an attempt to compete with music streaming services like Pandora, Apple could be trying its hand at one of its own. Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple has plans on expanding its musical prowess to include a streaming service similar to Pandora and Spotify.

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Need Accurate Political Fact-Checking? Ask a Librarian

After watching the U.S. Presidential debates, it's clear the country could really use a non-combative way to discuss issues and disseminate information. Sites like Procon.org do this for national issues, ranging from legalizing marijuana to illegal immigration, but sometimes the most heated political discussions happen on the local scene.

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Pharma Goes Farmville: PR Through Social Gaming

If you've ever dreamed of running your own pharmaceutical company without the gargantuan research costs and pesky lawsuits, have we got a game for you. German drug maker Boehringer Ingelheim is betting that social gaming will raise its profile and brighten its prospects.

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YouTube On The Wii -- Another Step Toward The New World Of TV

Good news: If you're hoping to show your grandma that awesome cat video this holiday season, you probably won't have to huddle around a computer or tablet screen. As yet another confirmation of the ongoing trend merging online video and gaming, Google introduced a YouTube app for the Nintendo Wii earlier this month.