What is a drone? and why do you care Feb09

What is a drone? and why do you care

  What is really a drone? Dictionary.com says a drone is: a) an unmanned aircraft or ship that can navigate autonomously, without human control or beyond line of sight. b) (loosely) any unmanned aircraft or ship that is guided remotely. This is, of course, excluding any reference to that annoying voice in the office that keeps going on and on and on…. But really, the key word in these definitions is the word “autonomously”. Otherwise, a drone would be nothing more than a RC (remote-controlled) helicopter or plane. So what if you put a camera in a RC helicopter? Does that make a drone? Well, if that means that you can pilot it beyond your line of sight I guess that could qualify as a drone. But that’s not really why you should care about drones. And let me explain why. As I said before, the keyword is “autonomous”, this means that without any human intervention a drone should be able to do a task that is assigned to it. For example, if I tell my drone to send a package to a friend in Mars, it should pick up my package, fly to wherever my friend is, and deliver it, all without me intervening in the process. All I should have to do is say that I wanted my package delivered. And this is where the revolution starts!     When you think of drones do you think of small quadcopters or the Amazon Prime drones delivering your recent purchases? Think bigger!! A drone could easily pilot a plane or a cargo ship with minimum supervision. How about trucks? There are already fully functional self-driving cars, that can drive safer than you or me! So soon enough you might not see too many truck drivers anymore, but...

Is an intensive work day just a myth? Sep24

Is an intensive work day just a myth?

After two years of stubbornly ignoring the “4-Hour Workweek” sitting on my virtual bookshelf, I finally took it down and dove in head first. And it got me to thinking again about the average work day; is a fully-productive, intensive work day just a myth?Some people prefer having a job where you can get paid for doing basically nothing, and others prefer to be busy busy busy all day long. Approaching this subject from different angles (as a former graduate student, teacher, policy recruit at a nonprofit, and on-the-ground saleswoman–there’s more too!), I know what I prefer:     That is, I actively choose to work hard and intensively for short periods of time, followed by blocks of fun and relaxation. And while I agree with Tim Ferriss that this is the ideal schedule, there are some places–or many, depending on your job and circumstances–where this is simply impossible to follow. But the question is: is that because you, the employee, are being lazy? or is it because your job requires you to sit and sit and sit some more to reach your daily eight hours?Of course, if you’re an hourly worker, this conversation doesn’t apply. You work by hour. So, obviously, if you only work a couple hours in the most productive way possible, you’ll end up a couple bucks short of a full paycheck. And you might even find yourself out of a job. Or you’ll just be bored all day and waste time surfing on your phone (when your boss isn’t watching). I’ve been there, too. For me, there’s no worse fate than being stuck in a repetitive hourly job with no end in sight. As a salesperson, I had to reach my quota every day, but it didn’t matter if...

Apple after the Apple Watch: innovation or luxury brand? Sep19

Apple after the Apple Watch: innovation or luxury brand?

It happens with all luxury goods, doesn’t matter if it’s Chanel, Mercedes or Rolex. Eventually, everyone wants one. Of course, part of it this phenomenon is due to the quality of the materials or the amazing design. But if you tell me that the brand had nothing to do with your decision to buy that really expensive watch…don’t kid yourself. A brand serves many important functions (not the least of which is a way for a company to differentiate itself from others in the market), but it’s the experience and emotions around the brand that truly make it worth something in your mind. Sometimes it’s the aspirational message of the product like for Axe, and sometimes it’s the feeling of exclusivity like with your local Lamborghini club. Imagine, if everyone in the world suddenly forgot what Coke stands for–happiness, friendship, family, cutesy polar bears and so on–would you still choose to drink it over the regular cola in the supermarket aisle? Now, take that concept and think: What about Apple? A few years ago, Apple stood for innovation, a technology pioneer in making products that were both disruptive and well crafted. Of course, it all started way back when with those big, squarish and gray Apple computers. Then it started all over again with the fresh and exciting combination of the iPod and iTunes, which sparked the later iPhone success, and led to the pinnacle of design and quality: the iMac and MacBook. These products were truly revolutionary, not only because of their intelligent meshing of convenience and ease of use, but also because of their refreshing combination of features. Yet, can we say the same about Apple post-Jobs? Apple still stands for quality, certainly, as well as cutting edge design and slightly ingenious...

How job-hunting has changed in the last 20 years May30

How job-hunting has changed in the last 20 years

Looking for a job? How many applications have you sent so far? 5? 20? 493? Not so long ago–let’s say less than 20 years ago–it wasn’t uncommon to open up a newspaper and go straight to the jobs section, find a job and apply by phone or mail. Or even more common was to simply know someone important enough to get you an interview or a job without even applying.     Although you could still go buy a newspaper and try to look for jobs there, it’s not quite the smartest thing to do. Yes, there are job boards on newspaper websites, but it’s much more efficient to look elsewhere. But the second 90s job-hunting strategy is still very alive nowadays, under a different name: networking.     Yes, the ultimately cool NETWORKING. Networking is a cool-kids name that someone invented for a practice that’s existed since forever. The ancient Greeks had marketplaces called “agoras”, where people such as politicians, businessmen or philosophers got together, greeted friends and enjoyed casual business lunches. The influential French held salon meetings, where great philosophical discussions took place. You even “network” when you’re hanging out watching football and drinking a cold beer. The only difference is that, now, it’s much easier to network globally with tools like LinkedIn, Twitter, and even emails.     Though what is the price that we had to pay for such convenience? Nowadays you can send 20 applications in less than an hour (if they all use the same platform), and then you get to spent your time doing other, more interesting activities. But the price? The price we pay is employer “pickiness”. It is estimated that about 250 applications are received for every corporate job opening. If you want to work...

Zboard: The coolest way to move around your block Feb21

Zboard: The coolest way to move around your block

A few years ago, Segways were going to be the ultimate way of transportation. Of course I said “were” because you don’t see a whole bunch of people using them to commute to work every morning. In fact, you don’t see many of them, period.     What went wrong? Well, many things went wrong (not the least of which was an initial overhype about it), but main problem was its image. There’s no way to get around it: you look weird riding a Segway–to say the least. It makes you stand out (not in a good way) because of your increased height and the bulky wheels attached to it. But enough of Segway. The reason I mentioned them is because of the fundamental idea behind it: why not motorize a type of transportation that many people already use? And that’s where Zboard was born. From the outside, it looks just like a cool, slightly-oversized skateboard. But step on it. And once you get on, you feel totally justified when you cruise around your block or go to work–unless you wear a suit, in which case, you’re a hip, skateboarding, corporate exec…?     The board itself is very simple to use.You lean frontwards to go forward, and you lean backwards to stop, no remotes or anything else needed. In the more expensive SF Special version, the top speed is about 18 mph and boasts a range of 20 miles. The price is also a bit high compared to the regular (Classic) version, $1199 vs $649. Although I doubt that a normal user will need a 20 mile range on it. The main difference between these version is the battery capacity (the more expensive it is, the higher the range & speed). Once you...

Is it worth having TWO Computer Screens? Feb01

Is it worth having TWO Computer Screens?

Have you ever wondered if it’s possible to increase your productivity at your workstation? Do you ever tire of opening and closing and opening yet again all those application windows on your desktop? Well, the answer to your problems is here: get a second screen!     Wait…say what? Yes, get yourself two computer screens. Many people ask me if they should spend money on buying an extra screen for the laptop or desktop computer. If that person has a laptop I always say: You definitely should. If that person uses a desktop instead, I usually ask: what’s your current screen size? And if it’s smaller than 23 inches, hit repeat; I give the same advice as I did for a laptop. So why is it worth having a second screen?   Reason #1 It makes every task on your computer so much easier. If you do any kind of work on your computer, you will be running multiple programs all the time. For example, if I’m working on an excel sheet I generally have Excel, Safari, Word and sometimes Adobe open at the same time (Yes, I have a Macbook too). If I only had one screen to do all this, I’d be constantly minimizing and maximizing windows or switching virtual desktops. I’d eventually get the work done, but I always feel like I spent most of my time not doing my work, just opening and closing windows.   Reason #2 Save time for things that matter. You use a computer to make life simpler, right? When I first started using two screens I couldn’t believe how much time I saved. Sometimes I took less than half of the time that I used to. In fact, a study from Microsoft showed that it...

Why You Should Get a Dash Cam Jan20

Why You Should Get a Dash Cam

In early 2013, a big meteorite lit up Moscow as it rained fire across the morning skies. Abundant footage showed the memorable event all across YouTube, hundreds of images captured mostly by dashboard cameras, just like this one:     Now, the question is: why do the Russians have so many dash cams? Among other reasons, it’s because it’s not easy to process an insurance claim in Russia without proof. In the U.S. or Europe, insurance companies are less strict, though in a he-said-she-said case with conflicting statements it’s still hard to prove your case without evidence. Not only that, but in New York City alone, it is reported that insurance fraud costs insurance holders more then $240 million in extra premiums. One of the most-used techniques is when a car backs up into you in the middle of a traffic jam and then claims that you hit them from the back. If you haven’t heard about this before check it out!     If these stories are enough to convince you to read further, let me explain how it works. You see, a dash cam is a device that records your driving footage and acts like a Black Box for cars. Most of them can be programmed to record only when you drive or when an unexpected movement happens. In essence, it’s really just a way to feel a bit safer when you do drive, knowing that you’ll always have a witness on your side. For example, last year I was stuck in a major knot of traffic in the city. And I mean dead-in-the-water type of traffic. Then, out of nowhere, this beat-up Chrysler decided that, if traffic wasn’t gonna move for him, he’d move the traffic out of the way! And,...