Amazon Go

The future of shopping, according to Amazon, includes no lines, no waiting and no cashiers. For the past 4 years, the company has been working on technology that will allow customers to walk into a store, grab what they want and simply walk out – no checkout required. Amazon’s version of this tech-enabled brick-and-morter store, Amazon Go.

How does Amazon Go work?

Our checkout-free shopping experience is made possible by the same types of technologies used in self-driving cars: computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning. Our Just Walk Out technology automatically detects when products are taken from or returned to the shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual cart. When you’re done shopping, you can just leave the store. Shortly after, we’ll charge your Amazon account and send you a receipt.

All you need to shop at an Amazon Go store is an Amazon account and the free Amazon Go app on your smartphone. Employee’s at Amazon’s Seattle headquarters are testing out the first store as we speak. It will open publicly to consumers in early 2017.

Take a look below.

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Sound in iOS 10

I don’t usually do reviews about software upgrades. Why? Because everybody else is already talking about it and I usually have nothing else to add. This time is different! Prior to iOS10 one of the FIRST things I would do IMMEdIATELY after installing any upgrade was to turn off sounds. Well, two in particular: Keyboard Clicks and Lock Sound. 🔕 They were so very annoying to me!!! CONFESSION: I secretly turned off my mom’s sounds on her iPhone last year while we were in New York. My oldest neice and I had a good laugh, mostly because my mom didn’t even notice. Sorry, mom).

But iOS10 is different! One of my FAVORITE new features are the new SOUNDS! 🔔 #backon Instead of adding them here, I found a great site, iPhone Tricks, where you can listen to each sound individually and hear the greatness for yourself. They all sound amazing to me and it is literally music to my ears! Click the picture below, scroll about halfway through the page and click on the Play icon (▶️). Good job Apple! Enjoy!!!

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Oh and mom – you can turn your sound back on by going to Settings -> Sounds. Scroll all the way to the bottom and enable the last two options, like below. 😔

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Invitations the Easy Way

How do you invite people to the events you organize? Forget paper invitations – no one really uses snail mail anymore. Then there are invitations sent through email that get lost or even worst, those emails incite the dreaded reply-all. We won’t talk about group texts so finally, there’s word of mouth – you know, the events no one really takes serious until the last minute because of the informality of the “announcement”. Can you relate? If so, that’s about to change!

Invtd is a mobile application for iOS and Android that makes invitations super easy! After you download the free app, you simply enter all the details (location, time, etc.) then select the guest list directly from your phone’s address book. The selected parties will receive a text message inviting them to your event and you’ll get a push notification when they RSVP. There’s even an option to add the event to your calendar after you RSVP. How easy is that?! (Note: The invitee does not have to download the app to RSVP).

Check out the demo below for a brief tutorial and Happy Inviting!

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Invest with Acorns

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 11.19.13 AMInvesting is complicated. So much so that many people don’t even bother. Acorns, a mobile investment app can help! Essentially, every time you swipe your card (debit or credit), Acorns rounds up to the nearest dollar value and automatically invests the change for you! The money goes into a separate account that is completely under your control, meaning you can make deposits or withdrawals at any time. The fees are super simple to understand/digest: $1 per month (or $12/year) for accounts less than $5,000, 0.25% for accounts more than $5,000. Student accounts are free and every Acorns account is insured up to $500,000 for fraud.

To get started, sign up here. Acorns also has a money blog, Grow Magazine.

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The Kingsman in NYC

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Science-fiction movies have a strange way of predicting the future. In case you don’t believe me, let me just name a few recent science fiction movies that will hopefully jog your memory:

  1. Movie: Minority Report (2002)
    Technology: Gesture-based user interface
  2. Movie: Total Recall (1990)
    Technology: Driverless car
  3. Movie: Back to the Future Part II (1989)
    Technology: Wearable tech
  4. Movie: Short Circuit (1986)
    Technology: Military robot
  5. Movie: Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)
    Technology: Mobile phone

Just a few days ago I linked a popular movie, Enemy of the State,  to the national security debate, pitting the tech community vs. governments everywhere. Click HERE if you missed that. Today I’m linking “Kingsman: The Secret Service” to the free WiFi service being installed as we speak in New York City.

If you haven’t seen The Kingsman,  it’s about a spy organization recruiting an unrefined, but promising street kid into the agency’s ultra-competitive training program, just as a global threat emerges from a twisted tech genius. With a little help from IMDB and AceOfGeeks:

The global threat is the release a of new sim card that gives free wifi and calls to everyone around the globe. The sim cards are weapons, a neural augmentation device that triggers hyper aggression in people when broadcasting on a specific frequency controlled by Valentine. The controller of the sim cards can basically use it it out wipe out (i.e. kill) people who are not “on their side”.

statue-of-libertySo what’s the link to New York City? Just this week, workers began installing the first LinkNYC access points in New York. The hubs are designed as an update to the standard phone booth, using upgraded infrastructure to provide gigabit Wi-Fi access points. The full network will install more than 7,500 public hubs throughout the city, each replacing a pre-existing phone booth. (New York is finally installing its promised public gigabit Wi-Fi, The Verge)

Whether the service is free or paid, you better believe there will be some sort of “agreement” you must sign/acknowledge if you use this service, sort of like the ones required by Apple for your iTunes account – the ones that no one reads….  While this may not be a way to WIPE out a certain class or generation of people, like in The Kingsman, you can bet your last dollar the NSA (or some other like-minded government agency) will be spying paying very close attention and tracking everything you do whenever you are on this network. #youdecide

You can watch the official trailer for The Kingsman on YouTube. It’s actually a pretty good movie!