Category Archives: Technology

Self-Driving Cars Almost Here

It wasn’t long ago that Google announced their next great idea; self-driving cars. Google has just released the first fully functional version of this new car technology. Google will be building approximately 100 of these vehicles to test and come as close as possible to perfecting the concept behind them.

Christian Broda says that these test models have required quite the integration of technology to make them possible at all. The vehicles must integrate artificial intelligence with acceleration, braking, steering and an array of sensors, including radar, to “see” its environment and drive accordingly. The technology has to be able to handle decisions such as whether to pull out or not when there is a pedestrian standing on the curb, unsure of whether he’ll step out into the road. 

We take for granted the thousands of calculations our human brains can make every time we drive to the store or work. The computers that run these cars have to be programmed to learn what to do from what their sensors tell them about the world around them. 

This is remarkable technology and we should all hope it succeeds quickly. Imagine calling for a self-driving car only when you need one and then not having to worry about it after getting to and from your destination. No wasted space in cities from parking lots full of vehicles not being used which is how most cars today spend the majority of their time. If anyone can translate a search engine algorithm-like efficiency into changing the very nature of man’s four wheeled friend, it is Google.

Unique Web Designer Invents New Hacks

Keith Mann and Wikipedia comment that there is a story that has come out that is very popular right now and it involves a very unorthodox way of hacking. Rather than their typical designs, they are instead turning their attention to more aggressive forms of grabbing one’s attention.

Web designers out there are much more than computer fanatics and they did really prove to people that they are very intelligent and resourceful when it comes to matter that do not involve you having a computer. They decide to hack and thus Beat Keurig’s Coffee-Pod-Verification System. 

They however wanted it to be much more humiliating than just hacking it electronically with a computer so they went the extra mile to use only scissors and some tape; if that is not humiliating enough then the word really has no meaning. 

This was all started because the latte-loving hackers wanted to keep the coffee-pod an open source and so they vowed to dismantle the company’s machines and they did so with a lot of vigour indeed they even made a website for the occasion and it is Keurig Hack. 

The whole situation is very funny, and it comes to show that you should not mess with people’s coffee. You should also not think that it is only a web designer’s tools that can hack through a machine. Some scissors and tape were good enough to get this job done.

Prices of Digital Storage Have Been Dropping

Advancements in electronic technology have significantly brought down the prices of computers and other modern gadgets like tablets and video game consoles. In the middle of the 1950s, a hard drive that was made by IBM had a price tag of about $50,000. Such a primitive storage technology could only hold 5 Megabytes of data. In today’s economy, this would be equivalent to paying more than $10 million for a storage device with a 1 GB capacity. The reality today is that you can purchase a mini flash drive with a 1 GB for less than $10. However, consumers seem to take digital storage technology for granted. Nanotechnology and flash drives have contributed to the rapid decrease of digital gadgets and computer hardware.

In the early days of smartphones, users were happy with only several Gigabytes of memory space. Today, it seems that such a capacity would not be sufficient to store high definition videos and hundreds of photos taken by a mobile device with a 16 Megapixel camera. For example, some iPhone users are still complaining about 64 GB and 128 GB as being insufficient for today’s high tech age. Perhaps consumers have been spoiled by the tremendous technology boom that has driven the prices down for advanced electronics. I was thinking about this while reading an article about Laurene Powell Jobs the other day. For millennials, a 3.5 inch floppy disc is viewed as ridiculous piece of storage hardware that doesn’t have much use in today’s age.

A Profile of the Free Services of Telecom Company FreedomPop

Los Angeles-based free wireless internet and mobile phone service provider, FreedomPop is taking center stage among the growing trend of mobile apps offering unique opportunities to consumers. The new wave telecom company launched in October 2012 and offers free mobile advantages in the same way that Skype offers free voice and video services and Dropbox offers free data services. Through innovative techniques the company offers its customers free 4G cell phone service with free wireless internet and free broadband for home use. The internet service utilizes Sprint’s LTE network, 4G WiMax and 3G CDMA networks.

The company has taken to Twitter about an endeavor to expand to Europe, which offers their free services to customers, regardless of whether they use FreedomPop as their own primary carrier. Their free talk and text app was previously available to only Android users; however, due to customer demand the company recently expanded their availability to include Apple iPhone users over the Sprint network as well. They will offer “like-new” refurbished iPhone 5 handsets for around $350 but existing Sprint customers can use their compatible iPhone 4, 4s of 5 to download the app. The FreedomPop free plan includes 200 voice minutes, 500 megabytes of data and 500 text messages a month; their other plans start at just $5 a month. The app also allows 100 minutes of free international calling to over 30 different countries, including Mexico, China, the UK, Brazil, Hong Kong and India and will be expanding to over 100 markets within the coming weeks.

Customers who place international calls on a more regular basis can enjoy 500 minutes for only $5 per month or purchase an unlimited plan for $10 per month. Anyone who has downloaded the app (available here) can utilize these features. In addition, the company is offering the ability for customers to have their own international number for around $9 a month; this means that if a customer from Texas calls a friend in Shanghai frequently it could save their friend money as well because they would be able to call a forwarding number. With an estimated 20 million Americans making international calls from their smartphones every month the savings by using FreedomPop could be substantial; the company estimates that around $150 is spent monthly on average by consumers making international calls. That means FreedomPop could potentially save people around $1,000 annually.

The company offers other products as well such as Samsung Galaxy tablets, LTE Hotspots, USB sticks and mini tablets. If a customer switches to the FreedomPop phone service plan they won’t have to sign up for a contract and can choose to cancel service at any time.

FreedomPop was founded by Stephen Stokols and Steven Seasr in 2011. Despite the recent rumors of acquisition talks by cell-phone carrier Sprint no official deals have been made between the two companies. It is estimated that around half of FreedomPop subscribers utilize their free services and the other half has converted into paying customers.

Samsung Plans to Deliver a Foldable Screen Smartphone by 2015

The iPhone 6 Plus took the world by storm by making it foldable to some extent. However, some people created videos showing that the phone could be that flexible. In most cases, the phone could easily snap under pressure. 

While inadvertent folding would indeed be undesirable, other companies are utilising folding ideas into the actual designs of these smartphones.

The same happened to the LG model called the LG G flex, which at first people thought it was foldable. That was not the intentions of the manufacturer. The LG phone had a curved design to make it easily fit in the hand of the user since it was a large 6-inch display. 

People later on, after discovering this, came out to mock its unconventional designs and debatable usefulness in terms of aesthetics. 

Samsung is another company that has decided to venture into this field of foldable displays. They have promised to deliver the smartphone in 2015. 

Keith Mann says all we have to do is wait and see if they can come up with something that will be different from what we have been seeing. They have made some good progress in terms of creating the best display.