A Thing I Like

All things digital.

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The Era of Instant Delivery

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Amazon, Google, Uber and others are all working on same-day delivery services in various locations around the United States. I’ve personally had the pleasure of using Uber Essentials to have some basics delivered to my house. While the experience was a little slow, it did get to my house in short order.

Of course services like FedEx and UPS have offered same-day for years but those costs are astronomical. So what are folks liked Uber and Amazon shipping? Everything from groceries to clothing to Christmas lights, all same-day and all super-fast.

My question is, what’s next? What other services will offer same day, ultrafast delivery? Which industries that are dependent upon delivery will become even faster as getting your order to your door?

I have a few ideas -

  • Cable and internet installation
  • Home care and maintenance services (painting, plumbing, etc.)
  • Legal services
  • Medical...

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How to Predict the Future

I was asked “What is the best way to predict the future?” on the website Quora. I don’t really know the best but I have an idea on how you can figure out what the next big thing will be. My short Quora answer went like this -

The best way to see what’s coming down the road is to think about which industries and current technologies are ripe for disruption. The status quo, in the age of the internet, won’t remain the status quo for long.

Another way to think about this is which new technology feels disruptive? Either that technology will continue to develop (bitcoin) or the technology is headed in the right direct (nano tech).

Like I noted above, the best way to think about the future is which industries and services are in need of disruption now? What comes to mind? Here are a few that I can think of -

  • The airline industry
  • Money and related transactions
  • The workplace and how we...

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Six Uses for Drones

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Drones have made their way into the popular vernacular appearing in the media on a near daily basis. Many of us think of drone strikes when we hear the term but the reality is that they come in all shapes and sizes as well as uses.

Amazon has proposed the idea of using drones to deliver goods while others have ideas more geared toward the common good. Below are six ideas for using drones.

Photography
From surveillance to monitoring to policing, drones could be used to photograph marches, neighborhoods, crime scenes, people of interest and other targets.

First Responders
Hospitals and ambulance services can send needed resources to disaster areas, accidents and other emergencies for first aid needs. Along with instructions and gear drones could be the very first on the scene.

Delivery
As noted above, Amazon has proposed the use of drones to deliver good to customers but they...

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Top 10 Tech Gifts for Christmas

The holidays are upon us and it’s the season for giving. I’m always interested in finding the most interesting and unique gifts that fit the personalities of my friends and family. Tech of course is big on my radar (though not always my family) so I searched to see what was hot this year and made my own top 10 list of must-have tech.

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Lytro Light Field Camera
The Lytro is a pocket-sized camera capable of refocusing an image after it has been taken. $249.00 for Amazon Prime Members

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GoPro Hero4 Black
A fun video camera to take as you hike, skate or bike your way around. It’s small and compact and easy to use. $499.00 for Amazon Prime Members

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DropCam
A must-have camera for home surveillance, it’s also easy to use and can be accessed from the web. $197.85 for Amazon Prime Members

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Oculus Rift Development Kit 2
The new DK 2 allows developers to create games, apps and videos for the...

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Why Facebook Surpassing YouTube is a Bad Thing

YouTube, while technically a Google property, is considered the second largest search engine on the planet. 100 hours of video are uploaded each minute, 6 billion hours watched each month and 1 billion unique viewers every 30 days.

These are big numbers with folks watching everything from how-to videos, to commentary, to announcements to news and on and on. YouTube is a real wealth of easily searchable and indexable knowledge at your fingertips. Quite impressive actually.

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In August of this year, Facebook surpassed YouTube by about a billion views. Remarkable.

“In the month of August, on desktop viewing, they delivered about a billion more views than YouTube, which is pretty amazing,” comScore co-founder and chairman emeritus Gian Fulgoni reveals to Beet.TV …

This is quite a feat but I have two problems with this. The first is that the videos are auto-played, which doesn’t...

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Communicating Like an Idiot

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I once worked with a client who would cc: the entire working group on every single email whether it made sense to or not. I found myself reading through email threads only to find I didn’t need to be looped in. It was a massive time suck. At another job the entire organization was emailed regularly on jokes, musings and various non-sense I had to sort through to determine if I needed to know what was being sent. Usually I didn’t.

I’ve found that over the years this is quite common, sending any kind of message over email. The short, the long, the very important messages, messages that should be saved somewhere and those that don’t. Ever.

These types of emails train us to disregard important information and miss the nuggets we really need to be paying attention to. I’ve always advocated for using appropriate communications platforms in the proper manner. There really is a platform...

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With Bitcoin, don’t think currency, think platform

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While most people think currency when we talk about Bitcoin, the real value is in the algorithm. I could get into the ins and outs of how Bitcoin actually works but Bitcoin.org does a better job. Because of the way Bitcoin’s infrastructure is set up, you can securely transact anything. Not just money but contracts, taxes, voting and so on. This is where the real power lies.

What are a few examples? Here are some of the more talked about uses for Bitcoin.

  • Bitmessage - a secured peer-to-peer messaging system
  • Namecoin - a decentralized DNS service
  • Open markets - used to buy and trade almost anything
  • Virtual postage stamps - email spam prevention
  • Proof of ownership - for digital or scarce goods
  • Triple-entry accounting - for government or non-profit transparency
  • Distributed identity systems - for identification distribution and maintenance
  • Provably secure voting systems - citizens...

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Washington Post App for Amazon Fire Announced

This wasn’t a difficult call to make, I made the prediction in this post. The Washington Post has released an app for the Kindle Fire in the form of a twice daily news editions, at 5 am and 5pm.

The app will be free for Kindle Fire owners for six months, and will then cost $1 for the next six months. A $4 version of the app will be available for Android and iOS next year.

Russell Grandinetti, the Amazon executive who oversees the Kindle, declined to specify the number of Kindle Fire users who would receive the app but said that it would be in the millions.

My guess is that this will be the first of many apps across devices, giving access to the Washington Post to many users as well as provide data back to Amazon.

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The Future of the Internet is a Series of Balloons

There are a number of initiatives around the country and the world to bring internet to those that don’t have access. From inner cities to the furthest regions of the planet, there’s stiff competition to provide access to those that don’t have it. Who are the biggest players? At the moment it’s Google, Facebook and Elon Musk’s SpaceX. This is a look into those initiatives.

Google recently announced that they’re working to bridge the digital divide in Austin, TX with a pilot program to bring high-speed internet services to 4,300 people living in public housing.

In Austin, Google is helping to bridge that gap by offering its Google Fiber high-speed Internet service to the 4,300 people who live in public housing offered by the Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA). Once a household signs on, they get 10 years of free service (and the option to upgrade to more premium services...

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Google Kills the Ads

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Google is killing ads on select sites with the launch of a new experiment called Contributor. Google has teamed up with publishers like Imgur, Mashable and WikiHow to test the new service where users trade advertising for donations.

Basically you choose a monthly contribution and the site(s) you want the money to go to and peruse the site as you wish, ad free.

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Micropayments aren’t new (read: Tipjoy) and services like ChangeTip and Coinbase Tip are approaching payments from the Bitcoin angle.

Will this work? Potentially. If it were anybody other than Google I’d say probably not but with their weight behind the idea it may take off. My biggest grudge with the idea is the cost per site per month. A dollar, at minimum, is too much to pay per site. My threshold is considerably higher before I would consider using it.

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