Recent news on the robot dubbed K9 brings up questions on the practicality of some of the uses of robots we are seeing. This particular robot has been used to patrol the area around the San Francisco offices of the SPCA. The main selling point the SPCA uses when asked why it is replacing human security guards, is the cost. It costs roughly 60% less to utilize the robot than a human. Reports of vandalism, break-ins and other small crimes to the SPCA drops when using the robot, but they also drop when using a human as well. From that, we get the explanation that a human cannot report such crimes in as timely a fashion as a robot can.
This has all come about because the area of town in question is rife with homelessness. This is the main reason for security and every company in existence looks for ways to decrease their overhead costs. In this day and age, security is considered overhead, and robots can be made just for that function. But if the main reason stated for using a robot vs. a human is that it can relay pertinent information faster, two questions need to be answered.
One, how does the quicker relay of information ultimately deter individuals from committing crimes?
And secondly, if the deterrent is realized, does that justify the 60% savings?
More math would be needed to calculate that one, but chances are the answer would be no. Robots cannot stop a crime from happening, whereas a human can. In addition, it is more cost effective to stop a crime than spend money fixing the result of that crime. We all know that technology is ever-advancing and it will play a larger part in our society whether we like it or not. We just need to keep in mind that practicality should always trump using technology simply for the sake of it.
One of the most frustrating things about surfing online and visiting various sites is the number of popup ads and other ads that pop up out of the blue and make visiting certain websites a very frustrating and annoying experience. Over the last few years, the experiences with pop up ads and other types of ads has escalated to a frightening point. Enter Google to the rescue. Google recently announced that Google Chrome will stop showing certain annoying ads, even the one’s that were produced or served by Google. Only time will tell if this is true.
The Date Is Set
For a long time, Google was kind of sketchy about the date that the Google Chrome Ad-Blocker would go into effect. However, they recently revealed that the date is set for February 15, 2018. The real deal is that Google is going to remotely transform Chrome Browsers into automatic ad blocking machines for their users. However, the word is that this is a function that will only be available to a select few users.
Those that have been on the Internet for a decade or longer, probably remember the early ads that seriously interfered with browsing a website. Flashing banner ads would pop up along with irritating sounds and full page ads that would not go away, unless the visitor clicked on the ad. The Better Ads Program changed that through the development of a set of standards that must be followed by those producing or distributing ads online. Now, Google is stepping up the game too. Google Chrome will remove all ads that violate The Better Ads Program Standards. This is something to watch. Pulling ads will certainly diminish ad profits for violators.
A Better Ad Blocker
Google’s Chrome Ad Blocker is thought to be a better ad blocker. It is thought that other third party ad blockers block all ads, even those that are not violating ad rules and regulations. The Google Chrome Ad Blocker is able to differentiate between violators and non-violators.
With more studies coming out about how much we use our devices, the subject of device addiction is bound to come up. These studies cover all ranges of ages and geographical locations. They paint a fairly clear picture of who uses what, and how much. These numbers, how much time is spent on a device, seem to go up almost every year. So, to combat these high numbers, app companies are starting to devise ways and ideas of cutting down usage time on cell phones, tablets, etc. Especially among the younger users. Everyone seems to be on board with the idea that getting used to spending hours on end on a cell phone, is not a good idea.
This is how people become addicted to their devices and probably not even realize it. Similar to the boiling frog analogy, we wake up one day and realize that we cannot go about our daily routines without checking our phones every minute. One such solution is one that begins at home, yet is dependent on technology taking the step to make it possible. That is, creating a home network designed to curtail usage time, app usage and data limits. This would give the administrator more leeway into what their children do than what is currently available.
Another idea is to make the next generation of phones to where default social apps are not displayed on the home screen, as is currently the case. These apps are the main culprits in making people use their phones much more than is necessary. This would discourage the youngest of users from using those apps so quickly if have they to dig through their phones to find the apps. Ideas such as these are designed to get the new users not as dependent on their phones when they first start using them. It gets them into good usage habits, such as not spending nearly as much time on them as they do now.
Apple recently made a tremendous investment in another company. The tech giant has just spent $400 million to acquire a “music discovery app” known as Shazam. The purchase drew attention not so much for the sale price, but for Apple’s involvement. Apple’s business model does not greatly emphasize the purchase of startup properties.
Apple’s past presents a business model many startups seek to emulate. Steve Jobs’ launch of a startup computer company eventually changed the face modern technology. Apple, despite owing its inception to a successful startup plan, has not chosen to take the reigns of other startups. A common business model in the tech industry is to pinpoint startups on the verge of success and purchase them. Hotmail may be one of the most famous examples of a startup purchased by a major player and then taken to lofty heights. Apple continues to leave that business approach to others.
Mergers and acquisitions do not often factor into the Apple business model. The company continues to focus on spending funds, significant funds, on developing new products and concepts in-house. Exceptions to this approach to take place at times. The purchase of the Shazam app indicates Apple may find certain startups valuable enough to acquire. In 2014, Apple spent a massive $3 billion to acquire Beats Electronics. Overall, the past five years have not reflected significant acquisitions activity.
Apple does things a certain way because the established method clearly works well. Apple’s profits and stock prices indicate current policies. Making drastic changes such as shifting resources to expand mergers and acquisitions might not be the best strategy. Things could change in the future. At this time, however, Apple prefers to remain on its traditional course.
In 2016, speculations were rife that Interswitch, a payment processing firm based in Lagos, Nigeria, would be the first African tech firm to be listed both on the Lagos and London stock exchanges. The tech firm would be listed at a $1 billion valuation. All indicators were right, Interswitch had selected investment bankers, and Helios Investment Partner stood by the company as a primary backer.
Almost two years later, Interswitch has not gone public; neither has any other VC backed African tech firm. TechCrunch sought to establish why Interswitch has not made good its promise. However, it appeared as if Interswitch is unwilling to discuss the matter as the spokesperson for the tech firm reserved their comments regarding the pending IPO. Nevertheless, TechCrunch found out that Interswitch had partly addressed the matter in the last quarter of 2016. Through Akeem Lawal, Interswitch divisional officer, Interswitch had blamed “unfavorable equity markets,” while affirming it would go public before the end of 2019.
In pursuit of more information on Interswitch’s delay to go public, TechCrunch sought the opinions of some Nigerian tech insiders. Also, TechCrunch wanted to establish whether another company could be publicly listed before Interswitch.
Tayo Oviosu, the CEO of Paga—a Nigerian mobile money firm—suspects that Interswitch had not gone public owing to macroeconomic dynamics in Nigeria. He added that 2016 was unfavorable economically to launch an IPO. The weak Naira made it impossible to fetch a reasonable IPO valuation or opening share price. Consequently, Interswitch would have been valued lower than its actual market standing. Omobola Johnson, a senior partner at TLCom Capital, echoed Oviosu sentiments. Apparently, all analysts agree that 2016 was a bad year for a private company to go public. Johnson is also a former Minister of Communication Technology.
While Interswitch remains capable of going public anytime, Johnson named some companies which he believes might be listed soon. They include Andela and Flutterwave and Kenya’s Twiga Foods. Nigeria’s 2017 economic outlook is a marked improvement from 2016.
When an addicting app is released, people look at the developers and say how lucky they are that the public loves the app. Addicting apps are rarely happy accidents though; there is big money in having teens glued to their phones, using their favorite apps all day long. In 2016, apps revenue was $52 billion worldwide.
Hooking people through apps is a science, at least according to California startup Dopamine Labs, which uses neuroscience and artificial intelligence to advise companies on how to build addicting features into their apps. With more than a quarter of all iOS app developers earning approximately $5,000 per month, it is easy to see why companies would pay Dopamine Labs to give them an edge in the increasingly crowded app market. Game apps bring in more revenue than any other type of app, primarily through purchases made in the app.
Addicting apps trigger a burst of dopamine in user’s brains, creating a euphoric feeling that they want to repeat by using the app multiple times per day. Facebook excels at the practice; the helpful notification that someone commented on the user’s post is a trigger, designed to get people to open the Facebook app. When someone likes the post, a reward encourages the user to keep opening the app and posting, hoping for more rewards.
Dopamine Labs uses artificial intelligence to advise clients when to reward app users, to keep them using the app for as long as possible at a time and repeatedly come back to it. Addicting features, such as push notifications, are literally built into apps that depend on advertising for revenue. Fortunately, the addiction is not self-destructive, and it is one parents can control easily with the push of a button.
It’s been awhile since NASA has sent mankind to the moon and that always leads people to beg the question: are we ever going back? Over 45 years ago we made our first trip to the moon by way of a process called trans-lunar injection. Now, NASA is aiming to do it again with testing beginning at some point in 2019. This will be the first time that NASA has tested their Space Launch System along with the brand spanking new, Orion ship.
The Orion is going to go down in history books around the world if all testing goes to plan and the mission hits its expectations. The Orion mission will eventually have a crewed spaceship heading farther away from our planet than any other spacecraft has ever been. Orion will get nearly 270,000 miles away from Earth. To compare this distance a little easier: 270,000 miles away from Earth is the same as flying up to the Space Station and back home to Earth over 500 times.
The entire Orion mission is slated to take nearly 25.5 days. The mission will start with a four-day cruise up and to the moon before it is ‘injected’ into an elliptical orbit around Earth’s moon. The Orion Mission, also known as Exploration Mission 1, will sit in around the Moon’s orbit for nearly a week before spending another four days getting back home to Earth, where it will land somewhere in the Pacific Ocean near the assigned recovery utilities.
If this mission is a success, NASA plans to move toward manned expeditions in a similar fashion. Mike Sarafin is a NASA Mission Manager and he said, “This is the first of many missions to come that will use the deep-space exploration system to prepare our team.” Sarafin and his crew lately confirmed that they are hoping to have a ‘human test mission’ slated to take off at some point in 2023. These missions are considered the first step toward a manned mission to Mars.
A recent article on PR Newswire reports about the energetic video marketing firm Talk Fusion opening a new international office in India. Looking to expand its global footprint the office will be located in New Delhi. The Indian market for direct sell video marketing is rapidly expanding and the award-winning Talk Fusion is growing to fill the need. Talk Fusion is a leader in WebRTC video communications and is active in over 140 countries around the world.
The company engineers cutting-edge video products for email, meetings, newsletters and logins and it produces a system through which independent associates are paid within three minutes of a transaction. The New Delhi office offers meeting areas and training centers to support its local associates. Talk Fusion offers 30 day free trials of its award-winning video suite. The video suite offers live meetings, video newsletters, email and chat in one package and the video suite tracks your results and reports on attendance at live meetings.
Talk Fusion’s pricing is simple and smart. It offers different packages for any budget and its exclusive instant pay feature is available for all packages. The instant pay feature is unique to Talk Fusion and operates 24 hours a day 365 days a year and guarantees payment within three minutes of a sale. All packages offer the flexibility to work from wherever you want and there are absolutely no restrictions on income potential. Talk Fusion also offers its independent associates in incentives including 5-star vacations and a Mercedes-Benz. Talk Fusion offers small businesses the opportunity to appear larger on the internet and expand their bottom line with attractive and award-winning video solutions to their marketing needs. Learn more: http://www.dsa.org/forms/CompanyFormPublicMembers/view?id=1BE83000000A4
Talk Fusion was founded in 2007 by CEO Bob Reina and Mr. Reina is committed to giving back to the communities by supporting charities throughout the world, Mr. Reina’s idea for Talk Fusion developed from a house shopping experience when he took a video of a house he wanted to buy and send it to his wife via email. The phone carrier said it couldn’t be done. The result is Talk Fusion.
Samsung’s newly developed battery technology should charge smartphones, tablets, and electric cars in minutes flat, claims Samsung’s Advanced Institute of Technology.
The company affirms that the recent tech needs only 12 minutes to fully charge a device that now requires an hour to fill up, even with the use of fast-charge.
Samsung says that the technology utilizes graphene, a thin layer of carbon atoms procured out of graphite, which conducts electricity 100 times more productively than copper. The material transports energy 140 times quicker than the up-to-date silicon-based, lithium batteries, giving hope for a faster recharge than ever before.
Potentially, the new tech could increase battery’s energy-holding volume and provide its devices or cars with longer battery life. At this early stage, just how long these batteries could last is a mystery; however, the high-speed charging would mean uncommonly quick fill-ups, making the battery exponentially more user-friendly in the small span of daily time it would take. Spending the few daily minutes it might take to check in with a charger could lead to never running out of battery at all.
Current fast-charging tech in devices provides a 50% charge in thirty minutes, which is significantly quicker than a “regular” charge, giving a full charge in about two hours. The brand-new technology, however, would completely change the game.
Not only this, Samsung is assuring the public that they can widely manufacture the innovation and at a reasonable cost. As promising as the tech is, though, the company hasn’t yet made clear dates for the tech’s use in smartphones or other electronics.
At the moment, we can only suppose how fast this tech could charge Tesla vehicles and other larger electric gear.
In a world marked by ever-changing technologies, it is difficult to identify those advancements that are truly unique. That said, there are those discoveries and creations that only come a few times in a generation and are undeniably revolutionary. One such advancement was announced this week: electric planes. A group of European companies has commenced the process of developing airplanes that run on electricity. The first hybrid electric test plane of this kind is expected in 2020.
The project for creating this hybrid electric test plane has been dubbed E-Fan X and is a collaboration between Rolls-Royce, Airbus, and Siemens. Rather than build a new aircraft from scratch, the trio will first use a modified four-engine aircraft. The goal of the project is to replace at least two of the plane’s four fuel-driven engines with two two megawatt electric motors. The various aspects of production needed to complete the project will be divided between the three companies based on their individual strengths.
Should the project be successful, we could see commercial flights employing the same electric technology on a wide scale within the next seven to eight years. However, an electric future for commercial airlines could arrive even earlier as there are other large players also actively exploring the concept. Another collaborative effort between industry giant Boeing and Bluejet hopes to an electric test plane flying by 2022.
Electric airplanes would be greatly beneficial to the environment. While fuel emissions from airplanes are not discussed as much as with cares or ships, they still contribute towards the pollution of the environment. In fact, it is estimated that commercial airlines contribute as much as two percent of the carbon emissions that currently contribute towards climate change. Consequently, by cutting out the need for fuel, the proposed electric planes would reduce emissions and by extension levels of environmental pollution. The invention would also make economic sense as fuel is consistently reported as one of the main costs for airlines.