Tech Today w/ Ken May

Archive for March 28th, 2017

Waze is a valuable travel buddy because of the many ways it can assist you on the road. The navigation app helps drivers avoid traffic , it integrates with Spotify , and it has a growing ride-sharing platform . In an effort to aid users in all commute-related endeavors, drivers can now place a Dunkin’ Donuts order right from the Waze app. Dunkin’ is the first eatery included in Waze’s new “Order Ahead” feature, which made its debut as part of a software update made available today. The ordering process seems clunky initially, but easy enough to use once it’s set up. First, users pick their favorite items via the Dunkin’ Donuts app, using the existing on-the-go ordering feature. Then, the Waze app will locate the nearest Dunkin’ and allow users to place their preset order with one tap. Google, which owns Waze, says that more companies will be added to Order Ahead soon. As The Verge notes , restaurants like McDonald’s , Taco Bell and Starbucks have mobile ordering capabilities in their apps, so it seems likely Waze will integrate with them at some point. Order Ahead is meant to be used before you hit the road for obvious safety reasons, but as The Verge points out, the feature could be particularly valuable in self-driving cars. Autonomous vehicle technology is quickly evolving , so adding features like these could make Waze more versatile in situations when operating a car doesn’t require as much of our attention. Order Ahead is a promising addition to Waze, but it could also be a storage nightmare if apps for each supported restaurant need to be installed on your phone. If Waze eventually manages true integration with all of your favorite dining destinations, though, it could become a killer all-in-one driving app. Images: Mike Mozart via Flickr (Dunkin’ Donuts sign, lead); Waze via Dunkin Donuts (App screenshot) Via: The Verge Source: Dunkin’ Donuts

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An anonymous reader quotes a report from Fast Company: While airport terminal architecture has a solid history of style and innovation, rarely is a proposal put forth to utterly redesign the runway. But that’s precisely the aim of Henk Hesselink, a Dutch scientist working with the Netherlands Aerospace Center. Dubbed the “endless runway, ” Hesselink’s brainchild is a 360-degree landing strip measuring more than two miles in diameter. Since airplanes would be able to approach and take off from any direction around the proposed circle, they wouldn’t have to fight against crosswinds. And three planes would be able to take off or land at the same time. Hesselink’s team uses flight simulators and computerized calculations to test the unconventional design, and have determined that round airports would be more efficient than existing layouts. With a central terminal, the airport would only use about a third of the land of the typical airport with the same airplane capacity. And there’s an added benefit to those living near airports: Flight paths could be more distributed, and thereby making plane noise more tolerable. BBC produced a video detailing Hesselink’s circular runway concept. The concept is fascinating but there are many questions the video does not answer. Phil Derner Jr. from NYC Aviation writes via Business Insider about some of those unanswered questions in his article titled “Why the circular runway concept wouldn’t work.” The fundamental issues discussed in his report include banked runway issues, curved runway issues, navigation issues, and airspace issues. What do you think of Hesselink’s concept? Do you think it is preposterous or shows promise? Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Amazon is buying the ‘Amazon of the Middle East’

Posted by kenmay on March - 28 - 2017

Amazon wants to be a one-stop shop for the entire world, but has struggled to get a foothold in the Middle East. After months of deliberations , the company has finally purchased Souq.com, the “Amazon of the Middle East.” Russ Grandinetti, Amazon VP, says that the deal is a no-brainer, since both sites “share the same DNA, ” adding that the pair will now “work hard to provide the best possible service” in the region. The price hasn’t been disclosed, but rumors from the back-end of 2016 claimed that Souq’s founders were looking for a cool $1 billion. TechCrunch believes that the price was haggled down during negotiations, and thinks that the final fee was closer to $650 million. For that chunk of change, Amazon will now have a strong presence in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE with plenty of the knotty issues of doing business in the Middle East already fixed. For example, credit cards aren’t ubiquitous in the area, so Souq developed a prepayment card where users top up in retail stores before ordering goods online. There’s also no unified logistics platform in many locations, or addresses, so Souq had to build a network of local couriers who knows where people live. There’s no word on if Amazon will look to rebrand Souq with its own logo, although it’s not that likely given its normal procedure. After all, Zappos, Twitch, and IMDb aren’t called Amazon Shoes, Amazon Game Videos or Amazon Movie Database for nothing. Then again, the fact that the site is gaining a foothold in a new region, there may be a temptation to bring everything under the classic brand. Source: Amazon (BusinessWire)

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Intel Intel is positioning its new Optane technology as the next big advancement in computer storage after SSDs, and today it’s announcing the first consumer product based on the technology. The “Intel Optane Memory” drives are 16GB and 32GB M.2 sticks that can be paired with a larger SSD or HDD to speed up total system performance. Intel’s Rapid Storage Technology allows your PC to see the two drives as one storage volume, and the software automatically caches important data to the faster drive. The Optane Memory drives will be available to order on April 24th. A 16GB drive costs $44 while a 32GB drive costs $77. Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Apple’s released iOS 10.3 today, which isn’t a particularly interesting update, but it does have a few minor improvements, including a new file system, that are worth mentioning. Read more…

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