Product News, Reviews, and More

Electronics

The Car of the Future

By on Apr 17, 2013 in Electronics

Just a few years ago, self-driving cars sounded like something straight out of a sci-fi movie. Today, they’re a reality. Driverless cars are approved for testing in three states: Nevada, Florida, and California—home of Google, the brainchild behind the project. Lead by Google engineer Sebastian Thrun, an early prototype for the driverless car, dubbed Stanley, received $2 million in funding from the US Department of Defense in 2005. Since then, more than 15 engineers are devoted to the project, hoping to make self-driving cars safer, and eventually available to the masses. As of March 2013, Google’s cars have driven over half a million miles with no accidents. One of the major advantages of self-driving classes is that they can be safer than regular vehicles. Outfitted with over $150,000 worth of equipment, including a $70,000 laser system, Google’s cars have the ability to take thousands of snapshots, and detect and respond to outside situations with much greater precision than humans. Google claims that driverless car technology can reduce traffic accidents, wasted commute time, and the number of cars on the road by 90 percent in the long run. The spillover effects span across a variety of sectors and include reduced travel delays, increased productivity, and decreased medical costs. Despite the excitement surrounding self-driving cars, the vehicles have met their fair share of challenges. Google’s cars are currently unable to drive in the snow, as poor driving conditions reduce visibility and prohibit the car from properly “seeing” lanes. Engineers have yet to determine how these cars will respond to random human situations like a spare tire in the middle of the street, or a traffic cop physically directing traffic. In cities where Google cars are being tested, such as Mountain View, residents have launched complaints about the risks associated with gawking pedestrians and curious onlookers who are eager to catch a glimpse of the novel car. Perhaps, as the novelty wears off, both users and non-users will begin to become more comfortable with driverless cars. Sources: Businessweek, Business...

Read More

Facebook Takeover: Part 2

By on Apr 17, 2013 in Electronics

Worth a brand value of $13.1 billion dollars, $3.1 billion in sales and used globally in over 200 countries around the world, Facebook has dominated the social media market since its launch in 2004. So what is Mark Zuckerberg’s next big move going to be with the billion dollar brand? Since being an app on a phone wasn’t satisfying enough for Zuckerberg, he decided to take the next step, and move Facebook directly into the cell phone business. Facebook is releasing software that puts newsfeeds from the social network onto the home screens of Android phones. So of instead of going through an app to get to Facebook, Facebook Home provides you with instant access to your photos, comments, chats, and more. Facebook Home offers a rich and exciting experience for Facebook fanatics, and could also potentially help keep Facebook on top, as its competitors like Snapchat and Instagram continue to gain popularity on mobile devices. Tech pros like Steve Shultz, chief operator of Pageonce, and Andrew Eye, CEO and Co-founder of Taskbox highly praised the new Facebook Home. Shultz commented on the innovation as “a clever way to bring social content to the forefront of your phone” and exclaimed that Facebook Home will be the start of a new trend, as other enthusiasts, like sports enthusiasts, might acquire something similar to Facebook Home, but for sports. Eye also commented “Facebook is competing for attention and time spent and with the launch of “Home” they may have just gained an incredible advantage.” Although Facebook Home has its perks, there could potentially be a downfall to this new software. As if infinite access to email and text messaging, Facebook, and Twitter wasn’t enough, the release of “Home” could be just another distraction from interacting with people and being present. This might just be one more incentive for people to pay less attention to the people around them, and stay glued to their cell phones.  Only time will tell to see if Facebook Home is a complete hit or miss. Source:...

Read More