Archive for the ‘Amazon’ Category

Amazon’s promise of postal drones rides on a bed of hot air

Amazon takes the 30-minutes or less approach to package delivery.

Over the holiday weekend, millions watched as Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, told 60 Minutes how he plans to use drones (customized octocoptors) to deliver packages. The service, known as PrimeAir, will fly packages that are less than five pounds straignt to your door in 30-minutes or less. If all goes according to plan, the noisy little coptors will be in your neighborhood by the year 2018.

“Idea: Order a pizza. Order something to be delivered by Amazon Drone. See what gets to your house first.” – @AmazonDrone

The FAA still has to signoff on the deal, but Bezos said that it will work, and it will happen. So the drones are coming, but what does that mean exactly?

While some of my peers at other news organizations are exclaiming the triumph that is PrimeAir, I’m thinking we’re jumping the gun a bit. There are plenty of questions that remain unanswered. In no particular order, here are the issues and questions that come to mind, both as an Amazon customer and a journalist.

First off, unless you live within 10 miles of an Amazon shipping center, no drones for you. But even before that, there’s the fact that the technology to actually power the service doesn’t exist. Well, not yet at least.

But, with that said, I’m not sure such technology will be ready by 2018 either, and if it is, then it’s likely going to be broken. Amazon will need to develop the drones, the firmware that runs them, the shipping software, and hire and train people to manage all of this. Not to mention the hiring of QA and software engineers, because the backbone of the operation will need to keep data protection and privacy at its core. So can we really expect all of this to be done in four years? Hardly.

The FAA isn’t expected to approve drone traffic until at least 2015, but even that date seems unlikely. We have a hard enough time managing the traffic in the skies as it is, but now we need to monitor low-flying traffic too? ATC operators have it bad enough. So are we hiring more to manage drones or will we just pile on the workload to an already overworked set of employees.

When it comes to shipping, how will the package get to me? UPS and FedEx sometimes have issues finding my house, so how is an unmanned aircraft going to do any better? I have power lines and trees, how will PrimeAir address this type of problem? Will my package be left on the sidewalk, since using an octocoptor to fly to my porch is nearly impossible? What about theft?

“Amazon drones won’t leave those yellow notes on your door. We’re programmed to catapult your order through the window. Answer next time.” – @AmazonDrone

Admittedly, I know that most of these issues will be non-issues once the service starts (if it starts). After all, I’m not going to order something and have it flown to my house and leave before it arrives. But that’s me. And someone else will.

Another thought, what about property damage caused by the drones? Hardware failures that cause the drone to plummet to the ground (or worse, plummet down on top of people)? What kind of safety measures will be developed to address this?

In all, this was a brilliant publicity stunt by Bezos, but it’s more about the fact that he wants to change the way Amazon delivers products. He wants to do so within a short timeframe, because he knows that Amazon is growing, and shipping services are getting more expensive, while remaining stagnant when it comes to speed and reliability.

Honestly, I think we only care about this announcement because he used the word drone.


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Best Android Honeycomb Tablet News, Magazine Apps

Honeycomb has matured to a large number of Tablet optimized apps, and its about time that we start talking about them, one at a time.

 

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Best & Top News, Magazine apps on Android Honeycomb for tablets

1. News 360

One of my favorite apps. Aggregates news from various sources and displays them beautifully.

2. CNN for Android Tablet
Clean, and very well designed app that brings world class news right to android tablet.

3. Pulse

Pulse aggregates news content from various top internet blogs and displays them in a very natural scrollable thumbnails. This is my fav app on Android phones, tablet. Syncs and downloads news for offline reading, automatically.

4. USA Today

Latest news, scores, weather, stocks and photos from USA TODAY. The latest news, scores, weather, stocks and photos you’ve come to expect from USA TODAY and now available in a beautiful new way, on the Android Tablet. Staying informed has never been this quick, easy or enjoyable.

5. Feedly

Integrates with Google Reader, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Read it Later and Instapaper.

6. Newsr:

Sync and read Google Reader feeds.

7. CNBC Realtime

Get real-time stock quotes, watchlists, news, videos & more. The CNBC Real-Time App for Android gives you free access to real-time stock quotes – before, during and after market hours, directly from both the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ Marketplace. Additionally, you will get CNBC breaking news alerts, top news stories & analysis, and access to the latest CNBC business video clips, CEO interviews and market updates via CNBC video-on-demand.

8. HackerNews
Love HackerNews? You’ll love this easy to user Hacker news navigator.

9. Press Reader
PressReader for Honeycomb brings over 1,900 full-content newspapers from 95 countries in 51 languages to your favorite Google Honeycomb operated tablet.
Choose from a growing list of the world’s most popular publications, including: The Washington Post, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune.

10. F5 Reddit browser

Like Reddit? You would love this. Browse through various top links from around the web.

11. Financial times

Ge the latest in Finance via the official FT app.

12. Sports Illustrated

A Magazine that covers all your sports.

13. News Republic

Choose your favorite category of News and be bedazzled with them in a beautiful interface.

14. Time Magazine

The Famous Time magazine is now on Honeycomb. Various pay models for subscriptions.

15. SkyGrid

SkyGrid is the most powerful & only app for you to stay up to date on your interests. Follow your own topics and get updates on the exact interests you care about!

15. Appy Geek

APPY Geek, the best-rated Tech news app on Android is now available on tablets!
With hundreds of news articles every day (including TechRadar, New Media Age, Pocket-Lint, Technology Blogged, Tech Watch and more)

16. Honey Reader

A Simple RSS reader.

17. Fashion news app

A simple app that gives you different Fashion apps for android.

How to Delete an Account from Any Website

Deleting accounts you’ve created on Facebook, Google, and elsewhere on the Web isn’t always easy. Here are detailed instructions for leaving 30 of the most popular online services.

 

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The words “I wish I could quit you” take on a whole new meaning when you want out of a relationship with an online service. Sure, you once thought you would be together forever, but eventually terms of service change, end-user license agreements mature, and, well, you’re just not in the same place anymore.

Sadly, not all websites and social networks are created equal when it comes to breaking up. With some, it takes only a couple of clicks to say good-bye, and for a few sites, if you stop paying for service, the site cut ties fairly quickly. Others make you jump through more hoops than a tiger at the circus. Even after you follow all of the required steps, some of these sites never quite separate from you, but keep vestiges of your relationship around forever.

No matter what you call it—deleting, canceling, removing, whatever—when you want to be rid of an online account, you’ll find most sites don’t feel obliged to make it too easy for you. After all, you don’t want to rush into a break up. But if you’re ready, we’ve cut to the chase as much as possible to give you the links, tips, and, in the most extreme cases, the phone numbers you need to sever ties.

Amazon to offer bulk e-mail under web services platform

Amazon on Tuesday debuted a new bulk e-mail solution for businesses and developers as part of its web services offering. According to the company, Amazon SES is intended to take out the complexity of sending large amounts of e-mail for smaller businesses while ensuring delivery in a timely manner.

 

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Users would receive their first gigabyte of data transfer at no charge, and would be free to those who use Amazon Web Service’s EC2 cloud or Elastic Beanstalk application-management service as long as it falls within their bandwidth allocations. 2,000 e-mails per day would be covered under the free plan.

Additional e-mails would be charged at a rate of $.10 per thousand, the company said. After the first gigabyte, data would be charged at a sliding rate of between 8 and 15 cents per gigabyte.

SES may be of the most benefit to companies who may not have extensive IT budgets, as all the overhead is paid by Amazon. For Amazon itself, providing such a service even with such large volume should not be a problem: it already has extensive infrastructure due to its online commerce efforts.

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