New & Useful
2 weeks ago
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THIS IS THE FINAL POST FOR NEW & USEFUL. PLEASE CHECK OUT NEWS OF THE NEW FOR MORE OF THE LATEST ON BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY ISSUES. HUMANS, HUMANOIDS AND ROBOTS ARE ALL WELCOME. TALKING DOGS: ONLY IF YOU’RE HOUSE TRAINED.

THIS IS THE FINAL POST FOR NEW & USEFUL. PLEASE CHECK OUT NEWS OF THE NEW FOR MORE OF THE LATEST ON BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY ISSUES. HUMANS, HUMANOIDS AND ROBOTS ARE ALL WELCOME. TALKING DOGS: ONLY IF YOU’RE HOUSE TRAINED.

2 months ago
2 months ago
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Business Trends for 2014 and Beyond

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A graphic representation of unbundling

Fred Wilson: The Next 10 Years

Le Web: Fred Wilson has been a venture capitalist since 1986 and is undoubtedly one of the most well known VCs in the tech space. He is the managing partner at both Union Square Ventures and Flatiron Partners. Having seen many ups and downs in the tech economy throughout his career, we will hear Fred’s unique view on the Next 10 years.

NOTEWORTHY

[2:44] “The first big macro trend we think about is the transition from bureaucratic hierarchies to technology driven networks.”

[8:13] “The second big mega trend is what we call unbundling…(which) has more to do with how (products and) services are packaged up and taken to market.”

[9:50] “There’s a bunch of industries right now that we think are going through major unbundling. The first one is banking…another industry, of course, is education ( including research)…a third one is entertainment.”

[14:14] The last (mega trend): “We’re all, now, personally a node on the network because of this device (the smartphone)…The world is adopting them at a very rapid rate…We’re all connected to each other all of the time.”

[18:27] Four sectors that are particularly interesting: 1. Money. “Bitcoin, in our opinion, is the financial and transactional protocol for the internet that we have not had until now.” 2. Health and Wellness. “The opposite side of healthcare. Health and wellness is what keeps you out of the healthcare system.” 3. Data Leakage. “In the information revolution, the pollution is data. Data exhaust is the data that leaks out (and is) letting our government (and other services) spy on us when we don’t want them to…Getting control over data leakage at the individual and societal level is important.” 4. Trust and Identity. “We have allowed Google and Facebook, and to some extent Amazon and Twitter to, essentially, be our identity service…It’s very convenient, but essentially what we’re doing is giving them access to everything we do.”

[25:42] Q: What do you think about this (Google Glass)? “I don’t see a lot of people walking down the street wearing Google Glass…It’s going to take a new form factor…I think it will disappear into the frame…It’s too obvious right now and I think there’s a lot of people who have a negative reaction to it.”

[29:16] “If we can train machines to do medical diagnosis, then doctors will have tools that will make them more efficient, (and) people will be able to know, even without going to a doctor whether they’re really sick.”

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10 Trends for 2014

  1. Immersive experiences
  2. Visuals supplant text
  3. Increased impatience
  4. Mobile devices increase access to opportunities
  5. Brands become more personalized
  6. The end of anonymity
  7. Questioning technology’s invasiveness
  8. Customizing traditions
  9. Attraction to imperfection
  10. Mindful living
2 months ago
3 months ago
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Gifts for Travelers

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USB Utility Charge Tool

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My Little Steamer Go Mini hand steamer [main]

This lightweight yet powerful 850-watt steamer uses plain tap water to deliver 15 minutes of steam time per filling.

VIA: Gift Ideas for Travelers: The Best Under $50

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Slim Sonic “Prism” toothbrush | [main]

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Noise-Canceling Headphones by Harman Kardon
WHILE Bose’s famed line of headphones are surely the most popular for those seeking blissful silence, Harman’s version are more flexible, more comfortable, and frankly, more stylish. Besides using electronic noise-canceling technology to block out unwanted noise, these sound great as well, and fold up nicely to lay flat. Unlike many versions they also continue to work even when the battery dies, and recharge by a common micro USB cable.
Via: The Best Tech Gadgets to Buy for Travelers: Holiday Gift Guide 2013
PREVIOUS: 10 Best Noise-Canceling Headphones

Noise-Canceling Headphones by Harman Kardon

WHILE Bose’s famed line of headphones are surely the most popular for those seeking blissful silence, Harman’s version are more flexible, more comfortable, and frankly, more stylish. Besides using electronic noise-canceling technology to block out unwanted noise, these sound great as well, and fold up nicely to lay flat. Unlike many versions they also continue to work even when the battery dies, and recharge by a common micro USB cable.

Via: The Best Tech Gadgets to Buy for Travelers: Holiday Gift Guide 2013

PREVIOUS: 10 Best Noise-Canceling Headphones

4 months ago
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The Business of Motivation

QUOTES

[5:40] The goal is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have, the goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.

[17:08] He (Dr. Martin Luther King) gave the “I Have a Dream” speech, not the “I Have a Plan” speech.

[17:20] There are leaders and there are those who lead. Leaders hold a position of power or authority, but those who lead, inspire us. Whether they’re individuals or organizations, we follow those who lead not because we have to, but because we want to. We follow those who lead not for them, but for ourselves.

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Start With Why: the reviews

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Dan Pink: The Puzzle of Motivation [vid]

QUOTES

[9:08] An MIT study found: As long as the task involved only mechanical skill, bonuses worked as they would be expected: the higher the pay, the better the performance. But once the task called for even rudimentary cognitive skill, a larger reward led to poorer performance.

[13:19] Traditional notions of management are great if you want compliance, but if you want engagment, self-direction works better

4 months ago
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Graphene Supercapacitor

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THERE are happy accidents all the time, but few unexpected discoveries have the potential to influence history like Richard Kaner's. The 55-year-old UCLA chemistry professor had been trying to develop more efficient ways to produce a new carbon-based material called graphene, one of the strongest substances known to man, but he and his assistant, Maher El-Kady, found that when they exposed the material to light in the lab, it transformed into a super-capacitor—in other words, a highly efficient, biodegradable power source capable of charging 30 to 100 times faster than current lithium-ion batteries, juicing up smartphones and, potentially, electric cars in seconds. Although batteries are a few years from the market, the race to harness the full paradigm-shifting potential of Kaner’s discovery is already on. “As people become more familiar with the technology, they’ll find new applications for it,” he says. [Details.com]

Two Scientists Accidentally Discover a World-Changing Super Material

COMMENT:

The product will unfortunately not be commercialized for some time. The article is very vague, and does not account for any of the larger issues present with using graphene in supercapacitors. Reading the published paper would be best. Also, a supercapacitor is by no means a super battery. Batteries are still needed for their energy density, while supercapacitors are more used for applications which require higher power densities. There are also competing technologies such as psuedocapacitors using nickel oxides.

Don’t get me wrong, the research is great, however I would not expect it to solve our energy storage problems, as this article may lead us to believe.

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How Capacitors Work: Capacitors and batteries both store electrical energy, but unlike batteries, capacitors can’t produce new electrons. Capacitors are widely used as parts of electrical circuits in many common electrical devices.

PREVIOUS: Carbon Aerogel Discovery

4 months ago
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Games People Play

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21 Video Games that Revolutionized the Industry

EXCERPT

GRAND Theft Auto V, which puts the player in control of three ne’er-do-wells as they fight, steal, shoot, fly and drive their way through “one last job,” has been a big investment for development company Rockstar, owned by Take-Two Interactive. Rockstar reportedly sank as much as $265 million into the project. This is $100 million more than the blockbuster crime/car-carnage movie “Fast & Furious 6,” and if true, would make “GTA V” the most expensive video game ever made. Other analysts have estimated that the game cost about as much as that film. Either way, it’s clear that the game is setting a new bar for blockbuster entertainment.

“GTA V” also looks likely to become the most profitable game ever. It is slated to sell 24 million copies and rake in over a billion dollars, a figure that rivals successful films like “Skyfall” and “Iron Man 3.” In anticipation of its launch, shares of Take-Two Interactive have surged 60 percent since the start of the year.

There’s no question that the face of gaming has changed. Back in the heady days of acid-wash jeans and gaudy tracksuits, most games were created by small production houses, with programmers filling multiple roles. Even as late as 2002, cult classic videogame “Max Payne” had its titular character modeled and voiced by its writer, Sam Lake. Fast forward to 2013, and the upcoming Quantic Dream title “Beyond: Two Souls” bills Hollywood stars Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe, with a score composed by the renowned Hans Zimmer.

Far from the pubescent, acne-studded nerd world of gaming in the ’90s as portrayed in multiple cringe-worthy movies, most surveys now peg the average gamer as a thirtysomething year-old person (of either sex) who games to relax after juggling work, kids, and other responsibilities. The skateboarding, Mountain Dew drinking gamers of the ’90s have grown up, and gaming has grown up with them.

It’s hard to imagine anyone lining up at midnight for a cartridge of “Missile Command” or “Breakout.” Like it or not, games have evolved into a nuanced, artistically valid and profitable entertainment sector. Check out some of the steps in this evolution in our slideshow of 21 Video Games That Rocked The Industry. […]

Top 10 Highest Grossing Video Games Ever (2012)

  1. World of Warcraft (over $10B)
  2. Call of Duty: Black Ops
  3. Mario Kart for Wii
  4. Grand Theft Auto 4
  5. Wii Play
  6. New Super Mario Bros
  7. Gran Turismo 3
  8. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
  9. The Sims
  10. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare ($700M)

Top Ten Most Expensive Video Game Budgets Ever (2010)

  1. Grand Theft Auto 4 ($100M)
  2. Gran Turismo 5
  3. Shenmue
  4. Too Human
  5. Metal Gear Solid 4
  6. Halo 3
  7. APB: All Points Bulletin
  8. LA Noire
  9. Final Fantasy XII
  10. Killzone 2 ($45M)

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Contre Jour is a physics-based puzzle video game for standard web browsers (HTML5), Windows Phone, Android, Apple iOS and Symbian. It was developed in 2011 by Ukrainian developer Mokus and published by Electronic Arts through its label Chillingo. The art for the game Contre Jour was created by artist Mihai Tymoshenko. The soundtrack for Contre Jour was composed by David Ari Leon. The game focuses upon a little blob named Petit, (a reference to Le Petit Prince) whose only means of locomotion is to be manoeuvered around by manipulating his environment through the various areas of the game using the touch screen.

The game won Best Mobile Game of E3 in 2011 by GamePro and reached #1 on App Store sales charts. [More herehere]

Six of the Best Unusual Games Genres

5 months ago
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FRANCISCO Aguilar foresees a day when beat cops will have the same search-and-surveillance capability as SWAT team members. The 29-year-old entrepreneur has invented a palm-size rubber ball embedded with six tiny cameras and sensors that officers can throw into a dangerous area such as a bomb site or a vulnerable building after a weather disaster. The device, called the Bounce Imaging Explorer, instantly transmits audio, panoramic photos, and environmental data to officers’ smartphones so they can make an initial assessment before getting in harm’s way.
COMMENT:
Personal pet peeve: “This device could be used by first responders or soldiers.”
Unfortunately, this is a common phrase (especially in the tactical robotics world), and it is a bad omen for the company that says it. It is a sure sign that the speaker is offering a “solution looking for a problem”. It suggests that they don’t really understand the real-world needs of police officers, SWAT teams, bomb squads, firefighters, search-and-rescue personnel, or the array of military roles to whom they suggest the gadget might be useful. To suggest the same device is equally applicable to all of these jobs in one sweeping comment also suggests that the speaker does not understand the differences in requirements from one application to the next. It suggests they are too enamored of their own technology to pay attention to the real needs of the intended customers.
I hope I am wrong, but my guess is that, at a $500 price point, this will not be rugged enough, the battery life will be too short, and the radio range will be way too short to be useful except in specific circumstances and niche environments. Physics does not favor low-power antennas that are inches from the ground. If the receiver is an iPad, then you are probably stuck with 802.11 or Bluetooth, which means you will only be able to view images from maybe a couple dozen feet away.
I’m all for the little guys breaking into new markets, but please pick one niche for which your device is the best fit and for which there is sufficient market demand. Just because there is already a throwable camera on the market, that doesn’t mean that there can’t be another that meets different needs, but try to learn those needs inside and out first. Only expand to new applications one-by-one after you are established in your niche. Don’t try to be all things to all first responders, especially if you only have $60K in seed money. If you shotgun your target audience without convincing them that you understand their problems, then your gadget will be viewed merely as a toy instead of a serious tool.

FRANCISCO Aguilar foresees a day when beat cops will have the same search-and-surveillance capability as SWAT team members. The 29-year-old entrepreneur has invented a palm-size rubber ball embedded with six tiny cameras and sensors that officers can throw into a dangerous area such as a bomb site or a vulnerable building after a weather disaster. The device, called the Bounce Imaging Explorer, instantly transmits audio, panoramic photos, and environmental data to officers’ smartphones so they can make an initial assessment before getting in harm’s way.

COMMENT:

Personal pet peeve: “This device could be used by first responders or soldiers.”

Unfortunately, this is a common phrase (especially in the tactical robotics world), and it is a bad omen for the company that says it. It is a sure sign that the speaker is offering a “solution looking for a problem”. It suggests that they don’t really understand the real-world needs of police officers, SWAT teams, bomb squads, firefighters, search-and-rescue personnel, or the array of military roles to whom they suggest the gadget might be useful. To suggest the same device is equally applicable to all of these jobs in one sweeping comment also suggests that the speaker does not understand the differences in requirements from one application to the next. It suggests they are too enamored of their own technology to pay attention to the real needs of the intended customers.

I hope I am wrong, but my guess is that, at a $500 price point, this will not be rugged enough, the battery life will be too short, and the radio range will be way too short to be useful except in specific circumstances and niche environments. Physics does not favor low-power antennas that are inches from the ground. If the receiver is an iPad, then you are probably stuck with 802.11 or Bluetooth, which means you will only be able to view images from maybe a couple dozen feet away.

I’m all for the little guys breaking into new markets, but please pick one niche for which your device is the best fit and for which there is sufficient market demand. Just because there is already a throwable camera on the market, that doesn’t mean that there can’t be another that meets different needs, but try to learn those needs inside and out first. Only expand to new applications one-by-one after you are established in your niche. Don’t try to be all things to all first responders, especially if you only have $60K in seed money. If you shotgun your target audience without convincing them that you understand their problems, then your gadget will be viewed merely as a toy instead of a serious tool.

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