This week, Avram Piltch has a hands-on with a gaming keyboard he is currently reviewing for Tom's Hardware: the Viper Gaming V765 Mechanical Keyboard. This keyboard is designed for gamers, featuring a shorter actuation distance, making it easier to respond quickly while gaming. The switches are an uncommon white, which makes they click, but not require as much pressure to actuate. But it is also good for regular typing, as the keys put less pressure on your fingers, meaning you can type more and longer without fatigue. While he has not published the full interview, Avram is incredibly impressed with the keyboard, especially for the price.
This week, China's phones are looking for a home, Valve has found a new competitor, and the internet is having a change of heart.
This week, Avram Piltch talks about some of the Holiday deals that are still available. While Black Friday used to be a single day, it expanded into Cyber Monday, and today it encompasses nearly the entire month of December. Some of the deals that are available expire on Cyber Monday, there are still a ton of deals that you can get for yourself or a loved one right now.
This week, Apple is looking to the past, the FTC is looking to the future, and Google is looking at a revolt.
The past few years, one of the hottest topics has been artificial intelligence. While the technology to make it happen has certainly increased at exponential rates since computer scientists began thinking about the problem a little differently, the growth of the technology is still far from what many would call advanced. As it stands today, an artificial intelligence matrix works by building a digital neural network, which is strengthened by feeding relevant data in to the matrix. As more data is fed in, the better the neural network gets at making decisions within the scope of that data.
Dr. Gunnar Newquist from Brain2Bot has a completely different idea on how to structure a network, and it is based on reality. Rather than building a virtual neural network based on data, Dr. Newquist is building molecular networks based on the way animal brains work. He is using his background as a molecular neuroscientist to study the intricacies of certain animals, and building artificial intelligences to match the way they behave.
The technology is clearly in its infancy, but has already produced impressive results. Using a bottom up approach, he studied the fruit fly, and began to model a network around the way their brains function. He started there because the fruit fly's brain is tiny, but they are capable of learning new things, and are still smarter than even the extremely modern AIs in the world today. By looking at their brain cells, and how they connect to one another and store and process data, he has learned a lot about the way a network can be structured.
Obviously, that is just the beginning, as a single species may add some smarts, but it won't quite add lifelike capabilities to robots or more natural communication to automated systems. By adding other animal research in both intelligence and emotion, he has learned some of the common threads between them, and us, and is working to build systems that will respond more naturally to external stimuli, behave in a more realistic way, all while still making our lives easier.
To learn more about Brain2Bot, their research, and their progress, check out their website.
The sales pitch for migrating software to the cloud is that the cloud is less expensive than running your own data center. And, while that is an accurate statement, it is really easy to break that reality. You can easily misconfigure your application instances or virtual hardware. You can easily over-estimate your needs and build an environment that costs more than you need. You can also lose business because you underestimate your needs and make your application run slowly because it is not fully available.
Magalix has built a system to help eliminate these issues. You connect the system to your cloud platform of choice: Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, or Google Cloud, and Magalix helps you correctly configure your instances for your actual needs. The system is able to watch your actual real-world usage, and adjust the specs to meet the current needs. For example, if you get a spike in usage every Friday at 4:45pm, Magalix can learn this behavior and begin the reconfiguration to a higher spec instance early enough that it is setup and switched over in time for your rush. And, if you get a random influx at an unexpected time, Magalix can instantly spin up duplicate instances, or whatever is needed to handle the load.
More importantly, when the peak time is over, whether scheduled or not, Magalix will bring down your instance to a lower mode that is capable of handling the lower usage model. This is important because it allows you to only pay for the system requirements that you are using at any given moment, as opposed to the standard model of creating an environment that can handle the high traffic and paying that amount all the time, manually creating a schedule and hoping it works, or being not fully available. This is a must-have add-on for anyone working in the cloud.
Magalix is available now for Azure, AWS and Google Cloud.
The Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence are two hot topics for 2018, so it is a natural pairing to bring them together. One incredibly interesting industry that has been in need of a technological upgrade is the oil and gas industry, so mIQrotech has brought the power of modern connected technology to oil and gas pipeline management. On the surface, this might sound like a strange market to go into, but in reality, these technologies can help prevent natural disasters and slow-moving ecological events.
These pipelines currently have sensors as part of their infrastructure, but they are not terribly modern. Each current sensor monitors only a single data point and is not able to transmit the data wirelessly. That means that either a person has to go to the sensor to collect the data, or there has to be an entire network of cables that runs along the entirety of the pipeline. Plus, because they are physically tethered, they need access to both the inside and outside of the pipes, giving additional points of failure. In fact, almost 3% of the failures on pipelines leading to leaks come from the sensors themselves.
That's why mIQrotech is bringing modern sensors, which can transmit their data wirelessly, read quickly and monitor more than one data point to the industry. Their goal is to reduce pipeline leaks by knowing the warning signs ahead of time, and predicting the leaks before they happen. This is where the AI comes into play. By analyzing the data collected by all of these sensors, their system is learning what happens before a leak, so that is can be stopped, preventing further damage to the pipeline, surrounding property, and the environment. They project 96% accuracy in predicting an issue before it happens, which is a win for everyone.
mIQrotech is taking reservations now for their platform.
If you've ever used noise-canceling headphones, you know that the sound quality is definitely a consolation prize. But, what if you wanted to listen to music in proper quality and not have to deal with background noises like airplane sounds or road noise? Well, the Mu6 headphones are here to help eliminate that problem. With sound quality in mind, Mu6 was designed to be an active noise canceling headphone with great sound reproduction. This means it is perfect for travel and the music lover.
In addition to great sound, the headphones have got some unique capabilities. For example, if you are in a situation where the noise cancelation is turned on, but someone needs your attention (such as a flight attendant), simply put your left hand to your ear and you can hear all around you. In fact, it uses the built-in microphones to amplify only human voices, while lowering the volume on your music, making it easy to hear. If you need ambient sound for a longer period of time, you can turn on the Transparency Mode, which allows you to hear your whole environment, which is perfect for crossing a street.
One of the most impressive features of the Mu6, however, is the optimized sound experience. Similar to being in a doctor's office, you follow through a series of hearing tests to determine your personal hearing profile. From there, the headphones are able to adjust the equalizer to your exact hearing, making the music sound the way it did for the producers. You can also adjust the equalizer for different genres of music.
In addition to all of the exciting sound-related features, Mu6 also comes with a very styling and unique magnetic charging base. Simply put the headphones to the top of the stand and the magnets will pull it in to charge. When you're ready to leave, just pick them up and go. If you don't want to take the charger with you, you can also charge via a USB cable. All of this is included in the box.
The Mu6 headphones are currently available on Indiegogo through December 7, 2018, with perks starting at $149.
In decades past, the way we planned our travel was very different from today. Rather than going to a website and hoping that the place we are headed has a hotel and excursions that are worth paying for, we would go to an expert on the topic: a travel agent. Losing the travel agent means we lost that expert advice and trusted recommendations on where to go and what to do while there.
A new platform called takeabed is trying to return the expert advice without having to rebuild the infrastructure that was needed to have travel agents all over the country. Taking advantage of the growing gig economy, takeabed is turning your friends into the travel agents. There are a lot of benefits to having your friends help you with your travel plans. Theoretically, your friends know you and the things you enjoy, and therefore are able to recommend experiences from their own past that they believe would be a good fit for you. This takes the expertise of the agent and adds the benefit of personal knowledge.
If you are traveling to an area where none of your friends have experience, you can actually engage a local takeabed agent to get an expert view from an established local expert. Working with your friends or a local expert can significantly reduce your chances of staying in a hotel that is a problem, and can help you avoid places that sound interesting but are actually tourist traps. Instead, you can find those hidden jewels that you might have missed previously.
Obviously agents have a benefit of making a commission on their sales. The better the agent, the more likely people will want to work with them to help plan their trips, so they have an incentive to help you plan a good trip and not just a profitable one for them. The best part of all of this is that booking through takeabed does not cost any more than booking with the major online platforms, so you get the best recommendations and the best prices, all at once.
takeabed is available now for both agents and customers to sign up through their apps and company website.
I think it's safe to say that there are a lot of PR firms in the world. In fact, there are probably a lot of PR firms in your zip code. Most work with companies in a similar way: create a message, hammer that message in. It's certainly the tactic that we see most often online, through platforms like YouTube and Facebook, while we're trying to watch a video. The problem with that is, while we may remember the commercial, we don't feel connected to the message.
Top Figure takes a different approach, working to connect potential customers to brands through storytelling. Many people buy products and services because of emotion, and creating a compelling story for the company is a way to connect emotionally with the brand. They use a variety of platforms to accomplish this goal, but focus on social media because of its direct connection to customers and its ability to tell stories.
The story of this company is definitely a unique one, and told best by CEO Abdi Hassan. To summarize, Abdi started selling candy bars out of his locker in high school. While against the rules, his endeavor was so successful he began renting friends' lockers and quickly franchised the concept. He was eventually caught and his enterprise shuttered. He did quickly discover an interested in selling shoes, and moved his passion there.
After high school, he decided that he didn't want to be an employee of another company, but instead wanted to run his own business, which you probably guessed from his past experience. He started the company as a web design shop, and eventually started offering branding and marketing advice as well. While this is not an unusual pivot, what makes it unusual is Abdi's understanding of the intricacies of proper branding and his passion for it.
If you are looking to grow your brand or just starting to build it out, check out Top Figure's website for more information.
There are a lot of reasons why someone might be looking for space in a location for a short period of time. For example, a business person traveling for a conference like Collision Conference, needing an offsite office to conduct meetings. Or maybe a small baker who needs to produce a large number of products in a short time needing a bigger kitchen. Both of these situations, and a lot more, create a difficult situation for the searcher, as there has never been a good way to locate short-term spaces.
That problem is thing of the past, thanks to GotSpot, a new platform for listing and finding short-term rentals on spaces. The concept is similar to Airbnb, except that the listings are for commercial spaces. For example, imagine you own a yoga studio, and you run classes 4 days per week. That means that your space is empty for 3 days per week. Rather than letting the space go to waste, you could list it on GotSpot for those 3 days and potentially generate some revenue from other yoga instructors who need a space for their classes.
Another creative use of the platform is for art galleries. The gallery could rent space during down times to artists to allow them to shows their works. They could also rent space to other groups for more social events. For example, while we were at Collision, our hotel lobby converted itself into a local art studio to exhibit local artwork, as well as having cocktails and snacks, creating a fun atmosphere where we met some of the locals, as well as others staying at the hotel.
Obviously, the platform also works well for more traditional spaces, such as offices and storefronts. Owners of empty office space or storefronts can use the platform to offer those spaces for short-terms. Offices can be useful for those traveling, while storefronts can benefit during seasons other than Halloween, from companies other than Spirit Halloween.
GotSpot is currently available in a limited test in Houston, Texas, with plans to expand their reach into other cities over the coming months.
Online affiliate programs have existed for as long as online has existed. These programs are often times what makes free online content, like ours, possible. Some affiliate programs, such as Newegg, rely on the visitor making a purchase for the affiliate to generate revenue. Others, such as Amazon Prime, have ways to generate revenue from cost-free experiences, such as trying Prime Video. While online affiliate programs are a good way for websites and services to generate revenue, a new concept in offline marketing is doing the same for individuals in the real world: Techlolli.
Through this program, individuals can make money simply by giving free things away, such as Audiobooks, or Uber and Lyft rides. Dara Randall, the founder of Techlolli, created the company in an attempt to bring a new aspect to the gig economy, one that allows someone to go to the places they might already go, and help people with something they already want.
The way it works is, every affiliate, or Brand Ambassador Entrepreneur (BAE) as Techlolli calls them, gets a unique code for their program. They then go to places where people want or need the free service being offered and help those people claim their service. For example, if you are a fan of music festivals, you could go to the festival and hand out business cards with an Uber and/or Lyft promo code on it. All the person has to do is sign up for the service, enter the promo code, and get a credit added to their account.
For the companies doing the marketing, it is a massive win. Rather than paying an employee or contractor a set rate for them to attend an event without any way of knowing how effective that person is, Techlolli allows the company to only pay for an interaction that benefits everyone involved. Accountability is therefore placed on both the advertiser and the Brand Ambassador Entrepreneur, making it a mutually beneficial arrangement.
Techlolli is available now and looking for new Brand Ambassador Entrepreneurs. To find out more about the company and how to become a Brand Ambassador Entrepreneur, head over to their website.