Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos made an aptly-timed announcement during his interview with Charlie Rose on this past weekend’s pre-Cyber Monday episode of 60 Minutes. Amazon, which started as an online bookseller, seems to have taken cues from science fiction with its plan for the future of delivery: drones! The proposed new service, called Amazon Prime Air, has the potential to deliver packages to your door via autonomous drones called “Octocopters,” all within half an hour of placing your order on Amazon.com. The drones are currently designed to deliver items weighing five pounds or less to anyone within a 10-mile radius of an Amazon distribution center (there are 96 worldwide). While those specifications might sound limiting, Bezos noted that items under five pounds account for 86% of all merchandise Amazon delivers. So how soon will you see drones on your doorstep? Bezos predicts FAA approval for his company’s drone delivery system will not become a reality until 2015 at the earliest, but we’ve thought through a few potential pitfalls of the drone deliverymen just in case… Buckle your seat belts, Amazonians.
TV shows such as The Jetsons, Knight Rider, and Inspector Gadget have been brought back into the limelight this fall, and it’s all for one Samsung’s revolutionary product–a smartwatch. The Samsung Galaxy Gear is here, and it’s attempting to fulfill all of your favorite science fiction television shows dreams. Phone calls from your wrist, spoken memos to your Captain’s log, incognito spy-cam shots, and even tracking your footsteps are all features of the Galaxy Gear. But is it worth the $300? Does it add any more functionality to you life? That’s what I’ll be discussing in this review of the paired duo, the Samsung Galaxy Gear and its partner in crime, the Samsung Galaxy Note III on AT&T.
A lawyer, a blogger, and a software developer walk into a bar…
Rather, they walk into Cove, a new take on coworking space that opened in Dupont Circle earlier this fall. Cove aims to offer what co-founder Adam Segal called “an alternative to the coffee shop,” complete with speedy Wi-Fi, color printers, and reserve-able conference rooms. In theory, it’s a place where freelancers, entrepreneurs, or anyone with a side-gig can escape the constraints (or pitfalls) of their traditional (or nontraditional) workspaces, without being subjected to distractions from less-productive peers.
Take a look at your wallet. In all likelihood it’s cluttered with credit cards, reward cards and gift cards, not to mention a smattering of receipts and tickets stubs. In this age of technology, shouldn’t the way we pay be… simpler?
Enter Coin, a start-up with a mission to modernize the way we pay. Unlike Google Wallet and other tap-to-pay smartphone apps, Coin aims to make paying with a card easier, but not obsolete. Coin essentially works like a stem cell for your wallet. Its single magnetic strip can function like any of your other swipe-able means of payment, all in one familiar, credit card-shaped package.
This article also appeared on the blog of the National Cyber Security Alliance.
A few weeks ago, I attended a conference about privacy considerations related to big data and recapped the more significant takeaways from the forum. Among the concepts that I found most interesting was a reference to “cumulative disadvantage.” Social researchers have long written about cumulative disadvantage as a topic related to life-course theory. In essence, the idea goes that disadvantages can stack up from one’s birth throughout life, ultimately explaining why the playing field may never be quite level for some underserved segments of society.
Within the data and technology realm, cumulative disadvantage is fairly similar but can hit much closer to home for each us who uses social media and other technology regularly. Amazon, for instance, represents a simple example. Each time you utilize Amazon as a customer, you relay a bit of information to the service, which it uses to refine its profile of you—what you search for, what you purchase, etc. Based on this profile of you that Amazon has created, the service can recommend additional products to you that you might like to purchase.
On the surface, these recommendations are useful: you receive solid recommendations from Amazon and Amazon increases the likelihood that you’ll encounter more products that you may potentially purchase. But cumulative disadvantage thinking would make us examine, especially for those of us who might rely too heavily on these recommendations, the possibility that we’re missing out on great products that Amazon never recommends to us.
Reddit Cofounder Alexis Ohanian visited Washington D.C. Tuesday on his bus tour around the United States promoting his book, Without Their Permission. The 100 college-bus tour includes stops at bars and campuses around the United States including tonight’s event at D.C.’s well-known Eighteenth Street Lounge (ESL), which is owned by music group Thievery Corporation. In addition to a stop at George Washington University last night, Ohanian stopped by ESL to speak with Host Sascha Meinrach, VP of the New America Foundation, along with answering questions written by the event’s audience. Much of the discussion with Meinrach covered Ohanian’sthoughts on dumb luck success (selling Reddit to Conde Nast), his philanthropist/entrepreneurial spirit, Internet freedom, and obviously Reddit in general.
Image: Ohanian’s blog, Withouttheirpermission.com
Slate‘s Future Tense Now hosted the event, and much of the Q&A part of the event revolved around Ohanian’s own successes, including Reddit, Hipmunk, and his self-described philosophy of “Making the World Suck Less.” The motto has aptly been used to name his discussion tour, Making the World Suck Less with Alex Ohanian. Mentions of Edward Snowden and Anon were definitely dropped during the event, and Tech Void noted a Samsung Galaxy Note III in his coat pocket and Galaxy Gear on his wrist. So, at the very least, Redditors can take solace in the fact Ohanian continues to be at the forefront of tech. Stay tuned for our review of said device next week.