House and Senate negotiators, in a rare bipartisan act, announced a budget agreement Tuesday designed to avert another economy-rattling government shutdown and to bring a dose of stability to Congress's fiscal policy-making over the next two years.
About time, no? Though I think it is clear how one-sided this particular debacle was, even if the dysfunction of Congress is blind to party lines.
A small unmanned aerial vehicle flew a 6.6-pound package of medicine across a river today as part of research by the German delivery giant DHL into the use of drones. A company spokesman told the Associated Press that this was part of preliminary research and that the company is exploring how drones could be used to deliver urgent packages to areas which are difficult to access with traditional transport... As drone expert Ryan Calo told The Verge last week, "If you want to compete in logistics and delivery, drones and unmanned robots have to be part of the conversation about where things are headed."
Imagine if, ten years ago, someone told you that a parcel service would be dumping millions into R&D projects involving the use of unmanned arial drones.
Now imagine where we will be ten years from today. Twenty years? Thirty?
To contrast 2013 with 1983 -- the year of the Commodore 64, of the Lisa, and of the IBM Personal Computer -- used to be such a trip. Just look at what progress three decades can bring, right? I can't begin to consider what it must have been to be alive at the time, only to witness such evolution.
Yet, now it seems like this sort of dramatic change is becoming a normal occurrence, with a timespan of months, rather than years. Entire billion-dollar, and perhaps trillion-dollar markets, have been created in the past decade, all of which rode the wave of nascent tech and the internet of things. Old, time-tested companies are now radically changing their practices with new ideas and processes that allow them to remain competitive. And some of our most cutting-edge hardware and software is spreading across the globe at incredible speed, finally becoming accessible to an underserved population of billions of people.
If the late eighteenth century brought forth the industrial revolution, the early 21st century has marked the beginning of the era of high technology. And, as hard as it is to believe, things have only just started.
As senior vice president for global product development for the past two years, Barra, 51, has had her fingers on the pulse of giant automaker's entire car and truck portfolio worldwide. The position brought her into direct contact with the cutting edge of the company -- what vehicles are needed around the globe, and how different markets can share them. As if the job weren't big enough, last August she was given the added responsibility of GM's entire purchasing and supply chain worldwide.
Seems like a great choice to me. In a world where only 4.2% of Fortune 500 CEO's are women, one can hope that talent like this isn't squandered going forward, purely due to gender.
Jeff Bezos is nothing if not a showman. Amazon's CEO loves a good reveal, and took the opportunity afforded by a 60 Minutes segment to show off his company's latest creation: drones that can deliver packages up to 5 pounds to your house in less than half an hour. They're technically octocopters, as part of a program called "Amazon Prime Air."
Yikes. The future is now. Or, at least, a few years from now.
As anyone who has done it knows all too well, getting money across borders involves one of two things: onerous fees and a lot of time (assuming your bank obliges by actually telling you the various codes you need)... Hinrikus knew this pain well, when he moved from Estonia to London in 2007. At the time he worked for Skype (he was its first employee) and received his salary in an Estonian bank account. Each month he transferred it to a British account, losing time and money in the process. Meanwhile, Kristo Käärmann, an Estonian working for Deloitte in London and receiving a salary in British pounds, had to transfer money back to Estonia to service his mortgage. The two decided that there was a simpler way to solve their problem, one that did not involve remittances. Hinrikus started transferring money into Käärmann’s account in Estonia, while Käärmann did the same for Hinrikus in London.
The story goes on to explain how the new service effectively allows for money to be "transferred" by collecting to-be-converted cash en masse, only to then act as a middleman, redistributing the funds within each country so as to avoid remittances completely.
By last month, TransferWise had transferred $400 million of people’s money, along the way going from just two currencies (pounds and euros) to 21 today. Though Hinrikus is coy about precise numbers, he thinks TransferWise will transfer $100 million a month by the first half of next year.
I absolutely love simple solutions for complex problems such as this. Reading the story left me dumbfounded as to how someone else hadn't already come up with this kind of service. Which, in my book, is a certain kind of genius - to be able to come up with an idea that is so successful that it seems obvious in retrospect.
Taking some cues from my project portfolio, I am happy to be able to publish a reworked page for my digital photography!
Alongside the refresh, I've also added a few more photos to various collections, and remastered some images so as to make everything look better than ever. So be sure to take a peek!
I really like a lot of what Nokia has done with the Lumia 2520, it’s a well-made, great performing tablet, with an excellent screen and really attractive price tag... it could stand to lose a few ounces and the widescreen display is not great for reading in portrait – but it’s a really good device that is mostly held back by Microsoft’s still-growing mobile platform.
I have to say that I wasn't expecting Nokia's last mobile products (as an independant entity, at least) to be so well made. From an aesthetic perspective I really do think that this tablet is in the vicinity of Apple's craftsmanship with their own iPads. Yet, they manage to do this by choosing bold color, shiny plastic, and a delightfully rounded shape that is very inviting. Quite the departure from the norm.
I am hopeful that Microsoft's aquisition will allow this sort of design ethos to continue on, though. Nokia's engineers are clearly putting a lot of thought into bringing very unique designs and actually-useful (cough) features to market.