Google recently released data showing that its self-driving cars have been involved in 11 minor crashes over the past six years, which has raised questions about when such autonomous vehicles will be ready for prime time. Nowadays, Google’s self-driving cars seem to operate seamlessly on the streets.
But that’s because the company essentially created a kind of Street View on steroids, a virtual-world map of the test town/area. That way, the self-driving cars know exactly how the streets look when empty, and only have to fill in the obstacles, such as cars and pedestrians.
So here is my quick cynical round-up of what will need to change before I will relax comfortably in a car which has no driver – first up for this part 1 blog?? Fail-proof software (my car powered by Windows 98!! – yikes). Take a short ride with me while I explain.
Before I throw my drivers’ license away I wonder what becomes of this: My self-driving car must be able to distinguish between dangerous and harmless situations otherwise the darn thing is going to be slamming on the brakes all the time for what I’ll call ‘no reason’ and yes I’m doing the annoying thing with my fingers as I insert those quotation marks. What I guess I mean is this – a paper bag floating across the motorway as I’m driving is to me very conspicuous, but not very dangerous. The pedestrian I see waiting on the sidewalk doesn’t look like he’s going to walk out into traffic after all , that guy on the bike coming up, is he going to swerve left or right?
Human brains do a masterful job of sorting and reacting to these hazards on the fly, but the current crop of sensors just isn’t equipped in my belief as yet to process that kind of data as quickly. Want to hear more? …I’ll be back soon. Share your thoughts.
Folding phone prototypes have arrived.
So I find out recently that flexible displays are now making their debut in the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Round and the LG G Flex. Here’s to looking ahead to new kinds of foldable devices; phones that can fold and bend in half from top to bottom? – hmm..I think I like it! Sites like TechRadar have more to say on the matter. This blog is really only to say ‘Can you believe it? did you know about this?’ ..want to know more? then do read on.
Samsung’s home territory may be beta testing already.
The Samsung Galaxy Round is available to buy right now in South Korea, even though it looks like an odd-shaped prototype that the company is testing out. This could be a sign of a future closer than we previously thought in material and available technology for use in the mobile phone market. This sort of limited testing phase if I remember, was done before when it launched the Samsung Galaxy S2 HD LTE. By the way, if you have the ways to secure one from South Korea, expect to part with over $1,000 (about £627, AU$1,047). But who’d ever let a thing like money stand in the way of keeping up with the Jones’s eh. Seriously though, I’d wait until they actually arrive at a phone shop near you; there’ll be the usual deals once the kit it fully tested to tempt you away from whatever current latest phone you have I’m sure.
And they aren’t the only ones ..
LG’s handset is Korea-only for now but LG has officially unveiled its first smartphone with a curved display, in the form of the 6-inch LG G Flex. The Korean company I’ve read, has lifted the lid on the handset which curves vertically from top to bottom, rather than horizontally like the rival Samsung Galaxy Round.
The device, which will only be on sale in South Korea, carries a 720p display, is powered by a Qualcomm 800 Snapdragon processor with 2GB of RAM. It’s also got a 13-megapixel camera and a 3500mAh battery. The real news I’m made aware, is the presence of the curve, which LG claims offers better ergonomics for making calls, holding and, of course watching video, which it likens to watching a movie in IMAX.
Interestingly too, seems there’s also a completely new feature; a self healing coating on the rear of the device which LG says will eliminate scratches on the rear of the device within minutes. Say what? Yup, that’s what I’m ‘hearing’. The company is likening the new tech to Wolverine from the X-Men lol..how cool eh. The device also features the rear-mounted volume keys like the LG G2, and is expected to launch in Korea next month (Dec.13), again from all the articles I’ve found on this so far, but tell you what, I’ve yet to find anything on a potential roll out around the world. I’ll stay on it don’t you worry. But what I can say, is that it’s sounding like the Samsung Galaxy Round could be a test model for a future launch around 2014 in February. Amazing.
Got something to share about this post or have information to correct or add? Leave me a comment and I’ll get back to you.
- ∏Responsive web design is about your website… and having it designed in such a way, that with all its words, paragraph positions, images and so on, it is always displayed in a format that fits and displays well, be it on a desktop computer, an iPad of whatever incarnation, a mobile phone or should I say, ‘smart-phone’ (don’t get this Jamaican started okay – darn thing keeps ordering cans of beer when I ask for bacon) – its about using techniques that ensure your website fits the visitor’s screen which then makes your website react to the screen size of the device it is being viewed from. Want to know more? read on.
be loved by Google.
We recommend using responsive web design because it has many good aspects:
- Using a single URL for a piece of content makes it easier for your users to interact with, share, and link to your content, and a single URL for the content helps Google’s algorithms assign the indexing properties for the content.
- No redirection is needed for users to get to the device-optimized view, which reduces loading time. Also, user agent-based redirection is error-prone and can degrade your site’s user experience (see “Pitfalls when detecting user agents” section for details).
- It saves resources for both your site and Google’s crawlers. For responsive web design pages, any Googlebot user agents needs to crawl your pages once, as opposed to crawling multiple times with different user agents, to retrieve your content. This improvement in crawling efficiency can indirectly help Google index more of the site’s contents and keep it appropriately fresh.
be prepared by seeing how it looks first.
Well if you’re still reading then I feel an important distinction needs to be made; and it’s that responsive web design is not the same thing as a mobile-only website. You’ve no doubt come across websites that switch to an entirely different version of their site when they detect you’re visiting from a mobile device? Responsive websites don’t switch to a different version of the site, it’s too cool, instead there’s a single website with the same the content it’s simply adapting for the device. I’m laid back but if I’m using my ‘smart-phone’ to view a web page, it’s irritating to need side to side scrolling as well as up and down actions in order to see all the text or an entire image. A responsive website means that you don’t have to create an entirely different website for mobile or other devices. As I’ve hinted at, the more I learn about using such styles the greater my acceptance that the benefits are huge. You can visit the classicvolks.com website to see an example – notice the difference in how the content and navigation options change position and style. Have fun or read on.
be done talking?
So say we use the image at the top right corner of this blog. The example shows one website page loaded on several different devices – whats the key here? Well ignoring their internet speed options, the most obvious is that they have different screen size and configuration to display a website. So one smart solution is to consider the device display area and not risk having some of your website content missed by the irritated visitor.
With the amount of mobile, tablet and other internet-enabled devices growing every day its worth you considering a responsive website when you speak with me. It will cost you more to have such techniques coded into your site but it allows you to relax knowing that it’s going to deliver the best possible experience, and if I code it, even if someone visits your website from their fridge.
There’s also flow on benefits for your SEO, because search engines will only need to index one website’s content, which can help to improve your search ranking and increase your traffic. don’t believe me, just ask my partner Kate all about the SEO advantages.
Last year’s 4th-generation iPad was such a minor update that there was little reason for iPad 3 owners to consider taking the plunge. But this year, the iPad Air marks the biggest physical redesign of the tablet that I’ve seen so far. Is it worth the upgrade? My friend Josh has taken the plunge so Read on, as I share my initial impressions of the lighter, thinner iPad Air.
Physically, the iPad Air is like a big iPad mini I’d say. The first time I picked it up, it provided the same kind of “Wow, that’s light” moment as when I first tried the mini. The iPad Air is almost 30 percent lighter than last year’s iPad, and as my partner Kate and I thought – you really feel the difference. I thought the iPad 4 felt like a heavy brick next to the iPad mini. With the Air, that playing field has been leveled. I find that I can hold it very comfortably with one hand, something I would previously only say about the mini.
More techie stuff..
Speaking of the iPad mini, I was a fan of the first-gen model’s design and build, but I did keep getting feedback that the display was an issue. Many said their eyes would hurt after using its 1,024 x 768 screen for extended periods . The iPad Air offers that same build – the kind that makes most other tablets’ constructions look crummy by comparison – along with a huge 9.7-in Retina Display. That’s a very nice combination. But hey: Was it just me or did you ever notice how the last two iPads’ aluminum chassis would often get hot to the touch? So far with the iPad Air, that’s nowhere to be seen which I suppose is to be expected, given the smaller battery.
The display, by the way, is exactly what I saw on the 3rd- and 4th- generation iPads. But I find that the tablet’s smaller face puts more focus on the screen. There’s less iPad to look at, and the same size of content to look at. Same size painting, smaller frame. As for that A7 chip, sweet momma ..let’s just say performance isn’t an issue. Then again, I don’t remember thinking performance was an issue with the iPad 4 either, so that alone probably doesn’t make the upgrade worthwhile – consider it a nice bonus then.
In closing; upgrade time?
As for upgrading, well, that’s the big question here. I need to spend more time with the iPad Air before publishing a full byitSizePro review (and I can’t speak about the battery life yet), but my first impression is that this is the biggest step forward any single iPad has taken from its predecessor. It doesn’t necessarily look like it on paper, but its feathery build really changes the experience of using it. Have you got one? Let me know what you think.
I’ve only ever liked Blackberry phones..until my iphone
As someone who respects and admires Apple – as the innovator, I would hate to see it drift down the path that Sony did after its two visionary founders, Masaru Ibuka and Akio Morita, retired and left us. But with all due respect to Apple’s current leadership, they seem to be missing a radical who will live, think, and sweat “the next big thing” — someone unshackled from business as usual as I feel Steve Jobs essentially was.
I work as a full time software engineer (and aspiring website designer – shameless plug for more business byitsizepro) I feel Innovation is typically slow and requires long-term engagement. Apple could still surprise me in three to five years with a big project it’s been cooking up, far from prying eyes but right now, just being “better, thinner and lighter” isn’t what the world was used to under Steve Jobs.
Is the tradition of beautiful, simple design is still alive at Apple? Even the world’s best design cannot hide that the company already seems to have fallen back toward a marketing-driven strategy, not an innovation-driven one. What I’ve seen coming from Apple since Steve Jobs passed away is all been refinement – spending increasing amounts on marketing what it does have rather than coming up with new gizmos.
In the early days, Jobs laid a lot of emphasis on making his goods in the US. That’s barely the case now from what I’m reading : Apple looks to have morphed into a design and retail business that orders in its manufactures from a network of more than 150 companies, usually based abroad. That makes it a more profitable enterprise I’m guessing, but does this then also mean that Apple is effectively outsourcing its thinking about production and components to others? I’ve read this, about Jobs’s employees: “People were recruited to Apple with the idea that they would be helping to change the world. Apple was more than a company; it was a cause.“But what happens to a cause when most of its parts and its software come in from a variety of points scattered far, far away from the Cupertino HQ?
Steve Jobs was a big part of apple, but i am sure there are members of his team that share his creative traits who will be able to continue his legacy. While it would appear that Apple may be running out of ideas, I don’t think Steve Jobs would have left this world without making sure Apple had a decade worth of Innovations in queue. After-all, I feel confident that such industry-changing innovations as the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad and even the MacBook Air — were all in development in one form or another within Apple probably 30 years ago, waiting for major technological developments to take place before these far-out ideas could be executed (quantum leaps in storage in processing, the Internet, color displays, longer-lasting batteries).
There are a lot of smart people at Apple I certain of that, just as there were a lot of “A-players” working under Jobs in the early days. Isn’t it simply foolish and unfair to them of me to think they won’t contribute to the rise again of inspiring new technologies and ideas? What are your thoughts?