Amazon Will Sell you Phones Discounted if you Watch Advertisements

LG has teamed up with Amazon Prime, offering 4 different smartphones at a discount price for customers who will see advertisements on their lock screen. Amazon has already teamed up with Motorola, Alcatel, and Nokia but LG is the first high quality phone company to be included in this program.

Known as Amazon’s Prime Exclusive Phone program, phones are usually discounted around $60 less than what they are usually. This does mean that the consumer would have to look at ads on their lock screen, but for good quality phones many people are viewing this program as a win.

Kastrenakes, Jacob. “Amazon Will Now Sell You High-End LG Phones for Less, If You’ll Put up with Ads.” The Verge, The Verge, 26 Oct. 2017, www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2017/10/26/16552414/lg-amazon-prime-phone-discount-ads-g6.

 

Walmart Starts to Use Robots Now In Retail Stores

Walmart has announced that they are beginning to use self-scanning robots in over 50 locations around the country. These machines will check inventory, prices, and items that aren’t in the right place.

Robots are already common in major companies especially in their warehouses, but not many retail locations. This is a huge step for a company like Walmart, making these tasks that are time consuming for employees to be completed in a timely manor.

One major issue with the use of these robots in a settling like Walmart is the thought of many employees losing their jobs to the robots, but Walmart has assured that wont be the case. They claimed that, “the robots’ introduction won’t lead to job losses, and that the company wants to save employees from carrying out tasks that are repeatable, predictable, and manual”. Will this really be the case? What will all these employees now take on in the workplace?

Below is the video of how these robots will work in store: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=16&v=_j2oh432RFY

Vincent, James. “Walmart Is Using Shelf-Scanning Robots to Audit Its Stores.” The Verge, The Verge, 27 Oct. 2017, www.theverge.com/2017/10/27/16556864/walmart-introduces-shelf-scanning-robots.

A New Startup With A Goal of Making Documents Better

A new startup company co-founded by Shishir Mehrotra and Alex DeNeui are designing a next-generation spreadsheet that could very well make Excel a distant memory. Mehrotra, a former employee at Youtube, and DeNeui a former employee at Google have put their minds together to develop a document that combines a word processor and a spreadsheet, called Coda.

The goal for Coda is to have the ability to have a document that is as powerful as an app. When you open Coda, it can be seen as a blank document similar to a Google doc or a Microsoft doc. But when you start to add things, you quickly realize you can build on top of the document. For example, you can insert google maps into a Coda document and it will provide directions. The reason Coda has the ability to do this is because of its own formula language that integrates other services into its spreadsheets.

Of course, this isn’t the first time that a company has tried to reinvent a version of Microsoft. But so far, Coda has raised over $60 million from extremely notable investors, making many people think that Coda has the potential to be revolutionary.

Uber has been using Coda testing it out since the summer, having employees move some of Uber’s data slowly into Coda from Google Sheets. The main reason Coda is extremely useful for Uber, is because of the ability to link many documents together while constantly adding live data that updates automatically.

Although Coda is only available for desktops right now and has a long way to go, it is a very exciting step for businesses and people worldwide.

Newton, Casey. “Coda Is a next-Generation Spreadsheet Designed to Make Excel a Thing of the Past.” The Verge, The Verge, 19 Oct. 2017, www.theverge.com/2017/10/19/16497444/coda-spreadsheet-krypton-shishir-mehrotra.

Mashable. “Here’s How Bill McCoy Became a Legendary Rum Runner during the Prohibition.” Mashable, Mashable, 19 Oct. 2017, mashable.com/2017/10/19/crackle-the-real-mccoy/.

Samsung’s New Service Will Unite All of Its IoT Devices

Samsung has just recently released that they are attempting to combine their various Internet of Things service all under a single device called the Samsung SmartThings Cloud. The company announced this exciting news today officially at the 2017 Samsung Developer Conference. In the past, Samsung has used multiple Internet of Things devices such as platforms like SmartThings, Samsung Connect, and ARTIK. Once the Samsung SmartThings Cloud is released for purchase, this will unite all of those products.

As we’ve learned in class, the IoT is growing at a rate that is now outnumbering humans by the end of this year. This SmartThings Cloud will work with both Samsung devices and other third-party products. Samsung’s goal of this Cloud is to provide a connected consumer experience that is innovative and versatile, building one of the world’s largest IoT environments.

Samsung has reported that more information about the SmartThings Cloud will be released in the near future, and consumers will be able to purchase the device early next year.

“Samsung Announces SmartThings Cloud to Simplify the Internet of Things.” Android Authority, 18 Oct. 2017, www.androidauthority.com/samsung-smartthings-cloud-808270/.

Youtube Changes Search Algorithms After Seeing Major Issues

Last week after the devastating Las Vegas shooting, YouTube’s top search results were filled with conspiracy theories and false information about the historically heartbreaking night. Results such as “Proof Las Vegas Shooting was a FALSE FLAG attack — Shooter on 4th Floor,” received over a million views in just 27 hours, releases false information out as one as the top results in a search.

The company now changed its search algorithms to promote more “more authoritative sources” and stop promoting conspiracy theories in general. Youtube uses these algorithms when ranking videos in search results and in choosing videos to feature on side that says “Up Next” when you’re watching a video. Apparently the changes are already in place and all news organizations come up when searching the issue.

Ong, Thuy. “YouTube Changes Search Algorithms after Misinformation during Las Vegas Shooting.” The Verge, The Verge, 6 Oct. 2017, www.theverge.com/2017/10/6/16434832/youtube-alters-search-algorithms-misinformation-las-vegas-shooting.

Remembering AOL’s Instant Messenger

AIM, AOL’s Instant Messenger, will be shutting down as of December 15, 2017. For many people, its a sad moment, as it was for many their first social experience on the internet. AOL announced the shutdown a few days ago, and acknowledged that people now communicate in new ways online, making AIM no longer needed.

For people who have never heard of AIM before, it is similar to iMessage, but you could only do it from a desktop computer. You could set status messages, chat your friends, and even when I was younger video chat. You made yourself usernames that today you’d be extremely embarrassed and ashamed of. Alert noises would play when people logged on and off, and when you were being invited to video chat. AIM was a place for people to invent themselves online, and create buddy lists of friends, classmates, and crushes.

As time went on and everyone got older, people grew out of being on AIM. Myspace soon took AIM’s place, then later Facebook. Our AIM status’ were now present as Facebook status’ instead, and we were also able to post pictures to share with friends now on Facebook. The biggest thing that pushed AIM out of the minds of teens and students, was the evolution of smartphones. Texting took over instant messaging apps, and FaceTime took over the aspect of video chatting on AIM.

Many other classic chats like MSN Messenger have shut down in recent times, but AIM is the last one to finally throw in the towel. As upsetting it may to be some that AIM is signing off for the last time, AOL’s Instant Messenger has truly made online chatting history and will forever be remembered for the 20 amazing years it gave us.

Meyer, Robinson. “AIM Was Perfect, and Now It Will Die.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 6 Oct. 2017, www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2017/10/aim-was-perfect-soon-it-will-be-dead/542322/.

Sonos Announces Their Plans for A Sound System That Works With Every Product and Platform

Sonos, a speaker company that works as a smart network of wireless speakers, has announced some exciting news for the upcoming future. It seeks to stream music from any and all services. The Sonos One, which will be shipping out to consumers in October for $199, will have the ability to access voice services when paired together with an Amazon Echo or Dot product. For the company, the integration of voice control is a huge deal. According to the CEO of Sonos, Patrick Spence, “This subtle change with how we interact with technology makes the golden age of content more accessible than ever”. Other than voice control, Sonos looks to extend to other partnerships too. The speakers will soon be able to mirror sounds from any apple device via Airplay, like playing a certain song when somebody rings a doorbell and be controlled from apps and streaming services. This is a huge step for both Sonos and technology as a whole, as Sonos can now connect with all products, not just your iPhone, and you can virtually play anything through these wireless speakers throughout your whole home.

Porges, Seth. “Sonos Unveils Its Vision Of The Future: A Sound System That Works With Every Product And Platform.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 4 Oct. 2017, www.forbes.com/sites/sethporges/2017/10/04/sonos-unveils-its-vision-of-the-future-a-sound-system-that-works-with-every-product-and-platform/.

The Smartphone App That Tells You An Earthquake Is About To Hit

The deadly earthquakes that hit Central Mexico in the past month have been yet another test for Mexico’s advanced Earthquake warning system where people are alerted via app when a quake is coming. This warning system has been in place since the early 1990s, and with the evolving times, a complementary smartphone app was made and is now used by millions of Mexicans.

During the September 7th earthquake, an early-warning system called SASMEX (Seismic Alert System of Mexico) gave residents more than a minute’s warning of the nearing quake, saving many lives. SASMEX relies on 97 sensors installed in places along Mexico’s western coast with high seismic activity. These sensors measure the movement of the earth and are connected to a station through a mini processor. When an earthquake is detected through these devices, the app immediately is alerted, alerting everyone with the app. All while this is happening, a state-of-the-art alert system emits emergency messages to the capital every time major seismic activity occurs on the fault lines. The capital of Mexico then sends out warning sirens to sound throughout the towns to warn that a quake is coming.

The major downfall of SASMEX is that there are many areas without coverage and not apart of the system in general. SASMEX only sends alerts to people in Mexico City, Acapulco, Chilpancingo, Morelia, Puebla City, Oaxaca City, and Toluca. One of the poorer states without the SASMEX system, Chiapas, had a death toll of 16 people after the September 7th earthquake. This shows the inequality in Mexico and makes the country as a whole vulnerable to the upcoming earthquakes in the future. Another problem with this alert system is that it doesn’t give major information to residents. It is unknown to the people of Mexico how strong the earthquake is going to be and how long it will last.

While doing some research on these apps, I read up that California doesn’t have a warning system in place even with today’s technology. There has been a network of 400 early warning stations in research mode for years called “Shake Alert”, but it is only halfway built. The only thing this system is missing is the funding to make it available to all American citizens in the state of California.

Last year, Seismologist Richard Allen at the University of California at Berkeley decided that he wanted to develop a cheaper system that could work with Shake Alert. Allen’s idea formed around the idea that cell phones and thousands around the world could record shaking directly on smartphones. This system uses the tiny chips that record movement and vibrations. The system called “MyShake” has been 93% accurate with detecting earthquakes so far. When a phone running MyShake senses a seismic event, it sends the data to the lab at Berkeley for analysis. In the future, this app has the ability to turn that information that was sent to the lab out and issue an earthquake alert back to phones in less than a second, but for now the app is only collecting user shake data.

This ever-evolving software has the potential to help countries around the world were there’s currently no existing earthquake alert system and save many lives all on a device that most people have in their hands for the majority of the day.

Calamur, Krishnadev. “The Smartphone App That Tells You An Earthquake Is About to Hit.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 19 Sept. 2017, www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/09/mexico-earthquake/540396/.

Brueck, Hilary. “MyShake App Uses Smartphones To Catch Earthquakes.” MyShake App Uses Smartphones To Catch Earthquakes | Fortune.com, Fortune, 12 Feb. 2016, fortune.com/2016/02/12/earthquake-warning-app-smartphone/.