Monthly Archives: February 2015

Stolen Memory Card Returned to Owner


Faith Massey takes pictures for grieving parents, pictures that mean the world to them. The pictures that this woman takes capture the first and last moments of babies’ lives. Through an organization called Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, Faith Massey captures the early moments in the life of a baby who will not live long. Recently, though, what Faith Massey is trying to do was interrupted and Brad Reifler was shocked. When her memory card was stolen, Faith Massey thought that she had lost some of these special, irreplaceable pictures.

After making an appeal online, knowing just how important the pictures contained on her memory card were, Faith Massey was grateful when she had the card returned to her. It seemed that whoever had taken it couldn’t hold onto something so special. Faith Massey was able to rescue the photos and get them to their rightful owners, despite the fact that the photos had originally been stolen from her.

Sony Rivals Google Glass With New Smart Eyeglass Line


Sony announced on yesterday the launch of its prototype smart glasses, Smart Eyeglass, which begins shipping in March. At the same time, Google discontinues their rival eyeglass device.

A New York Analyst with first hand insight says that the first version of these glasses marketed by Sony is specifically aimed at application developers, and can now be ordered in the US, UK and Germany for about $ 840.

The Smart Eyeglass can connect with compatible smartphones and will display information such as text, symbols and images.

Sony also distributes a software package to foster the development of specific applications for the device, in order to market it in 2016 for private clients and for professional use.

The launch was made almost a month after Google announced that stopped selling the prototype of its smart glasses, Google Glass, and the panel noted that they continue working to improve the device and launch it to a broader market.

Google ended the “Glass Explorer” program, which for two years has enabled thousands of people to test the interactive glasses and incorporate suggested changes.

Google decided to create an independent unit to work on further development of the device.

Mars One Narrows List of Applicants Further to 100

Mars One has announced that it has narrowed its list of applicants down to 50 men and 50 women who will now compete for the chance to take a one-way trip to Mars. In 2013, tens of thousands of people from all over the world applied for the privilege of being one of the first people to found a colony on Mars.

The remaining 100 applicants were chosen after being interviewed by Norbert Kraft, the chief medical officer. Kraft notes that the best individual candidates may not necessarily be the best team player, and team work will be important both on Mars and during the preparations on Earth.

The applicants come from nearly 40 countries with a third of them coming from the United States. Ricardo Tosto says they range from 19 to 60 in age and include engineers and PhD candidates.

The Mars One project now plans to put on a reality TV competition to help them whittle down the applicants further from 100 to 24 possible crew members to send to Mars, beginning sometime in the 2020’s. Those 24 will have to face years of training and a seven-month long trip to Mars.

Money is a concern for Mars One, which believes it will need several billion dollars to conduct its missions, including sending a robotic probe to Mars in 2018. MIT performed a study that questions Mars One’s ability to keep their astronauts alive.

Asia’s Pre-Eminent Direct Selling Corporation: QNet

QNet is a Hong Kong based direct selling company, which offers a plethora of products in a diverse group of markets. They are the flagship subsidiary of the Qi Group, founded by Vjay Eswaran in 1998. The company’s ecommerce platform enables them to sell goods across a wide range of countries. Customers can use QNet in over 100 countries to get the products they require. The company has expanded its business from South East Asia to the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia. They have even expanded into parts of Europe and Russia.

QNet offers products related to energy, weight management, nutrition, personal care, home care, luxury goods and fashion accessories. Examples of popular items include luxurious jewelry and Swiss-made watches.
The products are sold directly by QNet, but are also referred by independent representatives. These individual representatives are paid on commission for their sales and for recruiting more representatives to also work for QNet.
QNet invests heavily in their core values and philosophies. The company relies on a grass-roots movement philosophy, where ordinary people are the cornerstone for their business model. Their core values are service, teamwork, integrity, and results oriented service. The company also adheres to two core philosophies: RYTHM and InService.
The founders cite Ghandi as the inspiration behind their core philosophy, RYTHM: Raise Yourself to Help Mankind. They practice this by empowering all of their associates to be successful in order to ensure that the entire business is successful.
The company operates using the principal of service above self, both when dealing with their network of customers and also with their employees. Humility is an important value in QNet’s relations.
By expanding into new markets from 2007 to 2012, the company was able to increase its direct sales by 70%. In 2013, the company announced its intention to move manufacturing to India to provide a cost benefit between 8 and 12%. In 2014, the company announced a partnership with Barclays Primer League Champions, Manchester City.

Will Drones Replace Servers?


At most sit down restaurants diners are welcomed by a host/hostess, taken to their table, and from there a member of the wait staff takes care of all of their dining needs. A Singapore restaurant had been struggling to keep enough servers on staff to properly attend to their guests in a timely manner. Timbré is preparing to utilize drones to aid in serving food and drinks. Yes,  Gianfrancesco Genoso has confirmed that if you’re on you read that correctly, drones. The current plan is for servers to take orders as usual but rather than heading to the bar or kitchen to retrieve the meal items, the drone will fly it all out to the server’s station. The server will then bring the order to the table in person. Too futuristic? The price for each drone is astonishingly high so it will definitely be awhile before other restaurants begin to copy Timbré if they are successful.

Brisbane Airport Movements Blog


A new type of geek has emerged around the aviation industry.  My friend Dan Newlin sent me the link to the Slide Share and it’s pretty freaking cool. These plane spotters follow the movement of commercial and private jets and post information on the planes on blogs and social media sites. This type of behavior is common among transportation enthusiasts and most of them specialize in a certain segment of the industry. The plane spotters outside Brisbane Australia’s Airport are in their late twenties and keep busy taking pictures of jets landing at the second busiest single airport runway in the world outside of London’s Gatwick Airport.
These two young aviation enthusiasts are sitting in their car at the end of this runway to take a picture of Obama’s plane which is planning to land in Brisbane for an upcoming G20 summit in November. Neither one of these two are interested in the president or his foreign policy, they are just interested in getting a photo of Air Force One to post on their Brisbane Airport Movements blog. They have both invested tens of thousands of dollars and over a year of their time to construct this blog in the hopes of being competitive with other plane spotting sites. They have documented every flight they’ve ever taken and most of their time is spent researching topics associated with aviation.

Smart Televisions Worry Some Consumers and Privacy Advocates

It didn’t seem that long ago, before the end of the cold war, when jokes such as, “In Soviet Russia, the television watches you” would get a chuckle around the office water cooler. Now, the Soviet Union is no longer a reality, but televisions that eavesdrop on what you say are. Samsung has issued a warning to their smart TV customers saying to be careful what they say around their latest, internet connected and voice command capable, televisions. When users push the button on their remote control that makes it possible for them to control the TV by voice, the television must, by necessity, listen in order to hear the commands. It has now been revealed that what you say around it may be recorded and made available to Samsung and others.

This has caused quite a stir among Samsung’s television customers like Jaime Garcia Dias. Find Dias on Pinterest. They insist it is not as serious as it sounds since the customer must activate the voice command feature by remote control, and there is a graphic on the TV screen that lets the customer know if it is in this mode. These are sensible precautions, but it is still a chilling sign of things to come. Companies already track our internet usage to tailor ads to show to us, now we find that their voice command televisions listen for more than just commands. It remains to be seen if the government will, in some way, be able to get their hands on this information. That will really send civil libertarians through the roof.

Google and Uber Go Head-to-Head Over Driverless Cars


It seems like Uber and Google are about to head-butt each other. Uber aims to develop technology for driverless cars, while Google could launch an app for car reservations

Uber announced this week, on,  the company is developing technology for driverless cars, putting them in a direct fight with one of its largest inventors: Google stated Gianfrancesco Genoso.

In a partnership with Carnegie Mellon University, Uber established a laboratory in Pittsburgh, PA, called the Centre for Advanced Technologies.

Uber said they hold “long-term key technologies that advance the mission of bringing Uber customers safe and reliable transportation,” including cars without drivers, vehicle security and mapping services.

Jeff Holden, director of Uber said that focusing on technology that drive themselves serves as an investment in the future of Uber. Why pay a fleet of taxis if the company can build cars that drive themselves?

Citing an anonymous source, Bloomberg reported that a board member of Uber and legal director of Google, Dave Drummond, informed Uber of their intentions.

But The Wall Street Journal, which also quoted an anonymous source, ended that notion, calling the report “exaggerated”

The newspaper said that Google is developing an application that helps employees carpool to and from work, and is not related at all to a driverless taxi program.

However, while Uber is making cars that drive themselves, and potentially, Google maneuvers to push aside Uber, Silicon Valley may soon be looking at these companies becoming frienemies.

Supporting the Wrong Internet Providers


My college town was a perfect example of a healthy internet environment in the US. The town was moderately sized but with enough fluctuating college attendees coming into the internet market to promote competition and reasonable prices. For the two years I lived off campus I paid $25 a month for 15mbps (with a minor student discount) which I felt was reasonable for the speeds and service I received. There were few outages and occasional speed issues that usually resolved themselves quickly. Prices were not hiked, service was never dropped, and customer service was efficient and polite. As a child of the information age (I was emailing before I knew cursive) I frustrate quickly if my access was interrupted so I always budget to pay enough to forgo consistent problems. Once I graduated and moved out on my own I still planned to do that, but I never realized how difficult it could be.

My new town’s local establishment offered 14mbps for the low low price of $59.95. I was horrified and immediately angry. My work requires that I have home access and to my disgust the cheaper option was Comcast, who are notorious for their poor customer service and outrageous surprise fees. I begrudgingly went the cheaper route and have regretted it ever since.

Now that an actual discussion is taking place about making internet a utility I’ve realized that I should have been willing to sacrifice a little money to support a provider that I respect. I use the internet every day for work, communication, and my various creative pursuits. I fully support it being viewed as a necessary utility instead of a wild monopoly that a lucky few have dominated as Dan Newlin noted.