MH 370 Found

In a sad turn of events, officials have released information stating that the mysterious flight MH370 has been deemed a total loss and a crash in the Southern Indian Ocean. It was a tragic 16-day ordeal for all of the friends and family of all 239 passengers and workers; one that ended in the worst way possible. I feel sorry for all of those individuals who lost loved ones during this.

I still find it remarkable that given today’s technological advancements, it took 16 days to officially declare what happened to the flight. I guess it serves as a testament to both the limits to our technology and the sheer vastness of the Earth itself. In some ways I am glad the mystery is over, and happy the families can begin to mourn. 

 

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/24/mh370-lost-southern-indian-ocean-malaysian-pm

By rohpatel

Next Big Video Conferencing Thing

I was talking with my cousin the other day; he works at a teleconferencing tech company. He went through some training a couple weeks back wherein he built a room for the purposes of teleconferencing that was eventually used by Michelle Obama! 

http://www.polycom.com/products-services/hd-telepresence-video-conferencing/realpresence-immersive/realpresence-immersive-studio.html#stab1

He described the room to have 3 giant 84″ ULED (ultra LED) extremely high-resolution TV’s and a smaller 55″ LED all projecting a single image, or a host of images/video. The idea was incredible. They were combining incredibly high-defined (yes, I made HD past tense) video software with interactive interfaces that allow companies/groups to collaborate to the fullest extent. The versatility of having the multiple screens creates an experience where you can simultaneously see your collaborators one one screen who could be thousands of miles away while giving a presentation on another screen all the while loading up relevant facts on yet another massive screen. 

This ‘Immersive’ room allows you to get up and walk around much like you could do in person. I love the idea of this sort of room and think it can create endless possibilities for the future of web-conferencing. While these technologies are not affordable by everyone (huge costs for equipment, software, maintenance, sound-proofing, etc.) I think more technologies will be created to lessen the costs and make this more available for the everyday person. 

What do you guys think?

By rohpatel

Find My Friends

Over the last week, I traveled to California with a group of friends to celebrate Spring Break. During our trip, we decided to road trip down from San Francisco to Santa Monica all the while sticking to the incredibly scenic Pacific Coast Highway. While we had to rent two cars to fit everyone, we were worried that we might loose contact with each other unless we were constantly texting each other or on the phone – not that serious, but we still wanted to be sure the cars were within an appropriate range of one another

That’s where this nifty little app, Find My Friends, comes in. The app is designed to place an individual (who also has the app) on a map for others to keep track of. While you might instantly think of all of the negatives (creepers for one) the app definitely reassured us that we were all making progress on the road.

Although nothing happened, I know had the other car not moved for a while or fell behind by more then 20ish miles, we could have easily turned back just to make sure. 

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/find-my-friends/id466122094?mt=8

 

By rohpatel

Seven Figures, That’s This Many: 1,000,000

A few months ago, a Facebook friend from highschool wrote a rather lengthy status update. He was a shy, quiet, bright (and nice if you got to know him) kid who I hadn’t remembered ever posting anything before; needless to say, I had to read it.

The post started off humbly, giving thanks to a few people. Towards the end of the post, he reported that he was incredibly elated at having just sold a website he created for seven figures. Seven figures. (Hint: look at this post’s title). 

I was blown away. I quickly scrambled to see what the website’s brilliance was. When I first opened it, I literally did not get it. I could tell it had to do with online gaming, but as I am not an avid gamer, that’s as far as my insight went.

I was talking to a friend the other day, who games often, and he mentioned the website and what it actually did. It’s very simple. In that particular game (the name is escaping me, like I said, NOT a gamer) you get paired with random teammates and play against random opponents about whom you know nothing (no in-game stats available). So the website is designed in such a way that you can search a user’s gamer tag and find out about their profile (what level they are, what magic they use…or something). To me, it seemed like such a simple idea (not that I have the intuition about how to create such a website) that my friend made. And he was rewarded, handsomely.

The internet and social media have created so many opportunities to become successful, and this is about as close as such a success story has come to my life. Anyway, thought it was interesting enough to share.

FOR ALL YOU GAMERS: http://www.lolnexus.com/

By rohpatel

L O S T

http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/10/world/asia/malaysia-airlines-knowns-unknowns/

As you may or may not have heard, a Malaysian Airlines Flight (#370) went missing over the South Pacific 3 days ago. What this article does is go through various points surrounding the mysterious disappearance and establish what is known and what is unknown.

That an entire commercial airplane can just go missing without a trace is extremely unsettling. I have never been afraid to fly before, especially given the ramped up security around the world. However, with the possibility of being lost without the slightest inkling as to what happened frighten me.

What else? It was reported that two individuals aboard the aircraft were frauds using fake/stolen passports. This, too, is surprising.

On a slightly less grim note, the nebulous details surrounding this entire mystery reminds me of the TV show LOST. For those who haven’t watched it; a plane similarly goes missing and crashes on an island where everything is not as it seems, and the survivors realize they aren’t alone on the island.

But getting back to the issue, I find it unnerving the given the amount of technology we have in place today throughout the world, close to 240 ppl and a gigantic airplane can simply disappear..

By rohpatel

Death Penalty vs Social Media

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/09/world/middleeast/mercy-and-social-media-slow-the-noose-in-iran.html?_r=0

This NY Times article was just the proverbial cherry on the cake of social media’s power. In Iran, capital punishment is a favorite form of punishment for crime. It is handed out and executed (pun not intended) all the time for a lot of crimes.

In this case, Safar Anghouti, age 17, killed another man he suspected of talking with a woman he considered his; but seemingly not intentionally, just as a result of a flash of rage.Being a minor, his family pleaded with the public via social media websites to help raise funds to buy his freedom. Yes, in Iran you can buy your way out some crimes. The family of Anghouti went to the victim’s family and urged them to show mercy and allow a possible monetary compensation instead of death. Reluctantly, they agreed that in the event that they receive $50,000, they will stop the hanging. With the public’s sentiments on his side, Anghouti’s family was able to raise (even more than) the required $50,000 that the victim’s family demanded. Having the funds in place, Safar Anghouti will soon be released as a free man.

The article also made it a point to mention that the overuse of capital punishment for a wide range of crimes is a form of punishment decreasing in favor by the public. The expanding middle class has expressed concern that capital punishment is given all too often, and they want a change.

Before this post turns political, ethical, or any form of divisive, I want to just say that I think it is incredible to think that social media can have this sort of effect. I shouldn’t be surprised given all that we have learned about the effects of social media in today’s society, but I just think this is a stellar example of just how far-reaching that can go.

Whether you think it was wrong or right, what do you think about this story?

By rohpatel

Social Media as Market Indicator

http://variety.com/2014/digital/news/social-media-buzz-300-sequel-raises-a-huge-army-of-social-followers-1201128335/

In this rather interesting article, the author of this article posits the question of how we can use social media trends as potential indicators of a new movie’s success, before release. This pseudo-study took a look at the new ‘300’ movie, ‘Rise of an Empire’.

The author highlighted the growing number of searches,YouTube trailer views, Facebook Likes, Tweets and a range of other social media cues and regarded them as a new outlet to forecast a movie’s success. He took a second to mention that while individually, these cues may mean little, when there is consistent positive social media attention, you can expect the movie to do decently.

I found this to be a great insight into the power of social media in today’s society. I am sure many marketing companies/agencies have already been tracking social media attention for the same purposes, I never thought about it as a reliable indicator.

What are your guys’ thoughts?

By rohpatel

Show Me the Money..

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/03/01/some-tech-interns-make-more-than-u-s-workers/?_php=true&_type=blogs&ref=technology&_r=0

This article reports that big tech companies like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn pay their interns hefty salaries for the work that they do. The article also drew comparisons to median households in the US and found that some of the biggest paying companies pay their inters more than an entire family makes. Granted, the nature of these companies is such that they can afford to do so, but I found the fact that a recent college grad (maybe not even) can make more than an entire family just for being an intern to be astonishing.

Of course, the way we might have used to think of interns (glorified coffee-getters) does not hold true; especially in these companies. They are having a direct impact on the sectors of the companies they work for, and are getting well-compensated in the process.

Here is a video to show interested Google applicants the Internship experience. It seems like an incredible place to work!

What strikes me most, is how the traditional big business models are changing. Everything from office space to bureaucracy to salaries are seemingly evolving. This goes especially for technology companies which engender innovation and progress.

By rohpatel

The Great Race

In the following article, I learned about Apple stretching its reach into the car.

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/mar/03/apple-carplay-ferrari-mercedes-benz-volvo

Basically, the company is designing software to integrate the iOS into vehicular computer systems. This integration is based largely on the virtual assistant Siri who will become the integral component of the voice-based system. Apple wishes to afford their customers seamless integration and connection during every stage of their day. While texting and calling while driving is illegal, having a system that can read text message out loud perform a variety of other tasks simply through voice commands seems to be the next generation in car technology.

I named this post ‘The Great Race’ because a previous poster already commented on similar technology from Google. It seems, yet again, Google and Apple have elevated their competition to new heights by jumping into a car and literally (not really though) begun to race. As with all markets, competition benefits the consumers. I am extremely eager to see where these technologies will go and what cool and fun things come out of this proverbial race.

By rohpatel

Mind Blown

I just read the following short-story written by Isaac Asimov entitled The Last Question. Before continuing, I would encourage everyone to read it. But if you wish not to, I’ll give a brief synopsis (that doesn’t do it any justice).

http://filer.case.edu/dts8/thelastq.htm

The story is composed as a series of several very short stories. The entire setting is futuristic and each subsequent story is set more and more in the future; even hundreds of thousands of years from now. Throughout each story, there are a few parallels. The first, over-arching one is that of a large computer that has harnessed the power of the Sun in order to provide energy for all mankind. With each progressing story, the name of this self-intelligent computer changes (Multivac, Microvac, Galactic AC, Cosmic AC, etc.) and the range it can reach expands as well. This computer also serves as an intelligent platform through which humans can ask any question and expect an accurate response.

The mini-short stories represent a conversation between two humans in each throughout time and every single one grapples with the finite number of years mankind will exist. That even though this super-computer can harness the energy of all of the suns in the entire Universe, there will come a time when all of the energy will be expended. Therefore, the predominant question asked to this supreme machine is along the lines of: how can we restore this energy and replenish it to ensure we will continue to survive? Each time, the computer responds by saying that it cannot answer because it does not have enough data.

Eventually, the penultimate story represents ‘Man’ meaning all of the human race. The humans are at the end and are, one-by-one, being uploaded into the AC (which is no described as an entity that is not matter nor energy, it just exists) and the last man left in the entire Universe asks the question, one last time. The computer responds the same way it always did and there ends all of humankind.

The end of the story is where the real twist is. The AC figures out how to reverse the depleting universe, but there are no human to which to report this information to. This is the ending of the story:

 The consciousness of AC encompassed all of what had once been a Universe and brooded over what was now Chaos. Step by step, it must be done.

     And AC said, “LET THERE BE LIGHT!”

     And there was light –

Reminds me of a lot of the readings we have had. Especially Lanier when the story speaks of a computer existing at a time when no human actually exists; is that even possible? Do we not need human kind to experience the computer in order for it to really matter?

Thoughts?

By rohpatel