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Google Chromecast – The Latest and Greatest?

July 31st, 2013

By: Kaitlin Pondolfino

In comparison to Microsoft’s (now outdated) WebTV, is the new and improved Google Chromecast. Created for a similar purpose, both of these are meant to turn your TV into a usable computer in order to stream shows, movies, and videos. WebTV had its downfalls – the screen sat far away, the resolution wasn’t as clear as anticipated, and no one wants to add a keyboard or pointing device to their already existing pile or remote controls. Well, that was then and this is now.

Last Wednesday, at a Google Press Conference in San Francisco, Google announced Chromecast – a tiny computer running a stripped-down version of Google Chrome. In addition to streaming music and showing photos, Chromecast is able to stream Netflix and YouTube videos to your TV from any iPhone, Android device or notebook computer. This eliminates the “lean-forward” experience of hunching over a laptop and allows for the desirable “lean-back” experience of comfortably watching television from your living room.

The device itself looks similar to a USB thumb drive and simply plugs into a TV’s HDMI port. The only other piece of required equipment is a small USB electrical brick which provides power to the Chromecast adapter and plugs into a wall jack. Everything necessary in order for Chromecast to be up and running quickly and efficiently comes neatly packaged together with easy instructions.

While some comparable devices are expensive, complicated, and quickly outdated, Chromecast is only a shocking $35. Between the gadget’s affordable price, positive reviews, and easy set-up, it’s been said that Chromecast is at least worth a try! One consumer said a total of 15 minutes worth of set up resulted in a pleasant and user-friendly experience. Chromecast allows for family and friends to (remotely free) watch movies, TV shows, music, Netflix, YouTube, Google Play, and Chrome together. It works with devices you already own including smartphones, iPads, etc. so you won’t have to learn or purchase anything new. So plug and play with Google’s new Chromecast!

Posted in Current Events

Near Field Communication

July 29th, 2013

What is Near Field Communication?

Near Field Communication (or NFC, for short), is a form of contactless communication between devices like smart phones and tablets.

This means that a user can wave his or her smartphone over another NFC compatible device to send information without actually having to touch the pieces together, or taking multiple steps to set up a connection (no need to enter Wi-Fi info, create a text or email to send photos, etc.)

Depending on the operating system, NFC runs on Bluetooth or Wi-Fi Direct to share information and data.

Here are some companies that I looked up and know are using NFC technology:

Google

Sony

Nokia

Motorola

Microsoft

Samsung

Most of the major credit card and mobile companies

Have any of you ever worked with any of these companies?  Have you ever had a client ask for a candidate with NFC experience, or a candidate asks for an NFC role?

What is it used for?

1.  Commerce

Google Wallet – a mobile payment system developed by Google that allows users to store and use things that would otherwise be physically stored in their wallet (Such as credit and debit cards, gift cards, store loyalty cards, and coupons) inside their smart phone, Just wave phone over compatible sensor. Apple chose not to adopt NFC technologies.  Possible explanation for this is because they wanted to let other companies perfect the technology first.

2.  Social networking – NFC is used for social networking to share contacts, photos, videos, files, or to play multi-user games

3.  Entertainment purposes

Sony unveiled their “one touch technology” this year

With their One Touch, you simply tap your phone to another device to establish a connection and the data transfer begins. 

So you can tap your phone’s chip to the same spot on an audio player and the music playing from the audio source will start playing on your phone

If you tap the phone to a TV remote, you can transfer a photo from your smartphone to the television screen.  The same is the case for a video.

4.  Healthcare – nurses have been incorporating NFC into their technology in order to easily track a patient’s treatments and prescribed medications, etc.  All they have to do is swipe a smartphone they carry around with them over a reader that is designed to record this information, and it transfers it into the system. This prevents lost paperwork, etc.

According to the Near Field Communication website (nearfieldcommunication.org), plans for the future include the capabilities to:

1.  Unlock your car, adjust the car seats, and enter a parking garage

2.  Access the office building

3.  Pay for food and drinks from a vending machine

4.  Get on the bus or the subway

5.  Enter plays, concerts, etc. with no paper ticket

6.  Serve as personal identification (drivers license, passport)

7.  Repay friends for dinners, cab rides, etc.

ALL USING NEAR FIELD COMMUNICATION

**there is actually an app out right now called Venmo (has anyone heard of it?) that allows users to automatically transfer out of their bank accounts and into their friends – good for splitting cab rides, meals, etc.  But this does not run on NFC.

Where did it come from?

NFC technology stems from RFID, which is the technology that is used in wireless toll collection devices, like EZ-Pass.

**The important difference is that RFID communication is one-sided (which in this example means that only the EZ-Pass can send information to the reader in the tollbooth, and not the other way around

With NFC, however, the communication is a two way street between the devices.

Cons of NFC

There are security concerns.  Some consumers are afraid that their device could be hacked into by someone else carrying around a scanning device.  Then unlimited charges could be made.

A possible solution to this is being mindful to turn off the NFC technology when you aren’t using it, but consumers want something more full proof than this

Technologists say that in order to prevent this from happening, protection must be hardwired into the iOS either with software security, or with an actual hardware security device.

Implications:

According an article in Popular Science, many many companies are completely gung-ho for NFC technologies.  They believe that these potential capabilities will enhance revenue for their businesses by making it easier for people to shop.

how can i get my ex back

  Another goal for NFC is for shoppers to load things into bags in the store and simply walk through a security screening device which would pick up the exact prices of everything they are leaving with and automatically charge that sum on their credit card – without ever having to go to a cash register to “check out”

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Posted in Current Events, Talener Blog

The Hyperloop – The Future of Travel Transportation?

July 24th, 2013

By: Timothy King

Imagine if you could travel from New York to LA in 45 minutes. That seems impossible, right? Well Elon Musk is currently developing a train that he thinks will be able to accomplish this impossible feat. He is calling this the Hyperloop and along with a Colorado based company, ET3, they are designing the prototype as we speak.

The Hyperloop would consist of two tubes and a travel capsule. This capsule could hold up to 900 lbs including cargo and passengers. There would be six seats for passengers per capsule. The train would travel at speeds up to 4,000 mph. Seems crazy but because of the frictionless travel tube it would feel more like one is riding a roller coasting going around 1G.

There are obvious drawbacks to creating a transportation system like this such as cost, government regulation, and environmental issues. If anyone can do this Elon Musk is the guy. He is a millionaire entrepreneur who has been successful in the electric sports car industry, private space travel, and the original creator of PayPal. His company SpaceX was the first private company to send a space shuttle to the International Space Station in May 2012. He has the money and the proven track record of success.
Connections to Talener:

At Talener, I specifically work on the Open Source team. Musk will be using Open Source Enginering to create and design the Hyperloop. If this creation ever comes about it would be beneficial for companies that have offices on each coast, as Talener does. One hour an employee could be in New York the next in LA. I’m sure national companies would be intrigued. August 12th Musk plans on releasing the full prototype and project plans then. Stay Tuned.

Posted in Current Events

Startups and Venture Capitalism

July 22nd, 2013

Important to know startups because we deal with a lot of them especially on the open source team and the ui/ux/mobile team but eventually the other teams could be dealing with them as well

I. Definition

  1. Startup is a company, a partnership or temporary organization designed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model.[1] These companies, generally newly created, are in a phase of development and research for markets. The term became popular internationally during the dot-com bubble when a great number of dot-com companies were founded.
  2. Venture Capital- is financial capital provided to early-stage, high-potential, high risk, growth startup companies. The venture capital fund makes money by owning equity in the companies it invests in, which usually have a novel technology or business model in high technology industries.

II. Funding

  1. Non-Institutional

i. Bootstrap

  1. Self funded-usually people who started the company

ii. Seed

  1. Very beginning of outside funding-friends/family-couple thousand here or there

iii. Angel

  1. Small Investments by private individual-usually Wealthy
  2. Institutional

i. Series A

  1. Grow Company
  2.  Major Investments from Venture Capitalist–Series A rounds are a critical stage in the funding of new companies. A typical Series A round is in the range of $2 million to $10 million, purchases 20% to 40% of the company, and is intended to capitalize the company for 6 months to 2 years as it develops its products, performs initial marketing and branding, hires its initial employees, and otherwise undertakes early stage business operations.
    1. Depends on the Burn rate

i. Ex funded 1 million-burn rate is 500k a month—out of money after two months

ii. Series B

  1. Grow Product- at this point, the idea has been transformed into a product
  2. Gets its first real taste against competition
    1. Tends to show if it will make it or not

iii. Series C

  1. Stage is seen as the expansion/maturity phase of the previous stage.
    1. Done by selling more product or adding a marketing team

iv. Can go public at any point this is just how it usually works

  1. Could never go public as well

v. IPO

  1. IPO-Initial Public Offering
    1. Company becomes publicly traded
    2. Investors can receive a return
    3. Company gets acquired
    4. Company acquihired-acquires team/talent

i. Google is notorious for this

  1. Risk of Loss

i. Seed Stage-66.2%

ii. Series A-53%

iii. Series B-33.7%

 iv. Series C-20.1%

v. Bridge Stage/ IPO-20.9%

III. Why is this important to be up to date on?

  1. Great Source Material-easy to find out what companies are being funded
  2. Great Pitch/Entry Point
  3. They have to hire because they are growing and have money to burn
  4. Example

i. Houseparty.com

  1. Series C funding-5.3 million

IV. Talener and Startups

  1. We tend to want to work with after series A funding

i. More Stability

ii. Hiring People

iii. Have the capital

V. Questions

  1. How many of you guys worked with startups so far?
  2. Have you ever been burned-DC
  3. Whats the risk of working with startup vs company

i. Upside

  1. Control the process
  2. Quicker hire
  3. Better communication

ii. Downside

  1. Very picky of who the hire
  2. money

Startup list

http://techcrunch.com/2012/05/15/mayor-bloomberg-unveils-the-made-in-new-york-digital-jobs-map-for-ny-startups/

-Mayor Bloomburg –Made in NY Digital Map

–shows all tech startups hiring(324) and their investors in the five boroughs- They have over 500 start ups shown–Bloomsburg plan is to make NYC the Next Tech Hub

Why we should know and care about startup culture?

-A lot of start ups in manhattan

-Most are using some form of tech

-They’re hiring

-The have capital

-Sound intelligent to clients/potential clients

-CA’s ask about it-want to know how stable a company is

They also believe that due to the “two way communication” nature of NFC technology, they will continuously beam back coupons and advertisements for their products etc. when a purchase is made, which will draw in more revenue

 

If NFC technologies become as widespread as research suggests, it would definitely empty out our bags and pockets

(No house keys, no credit cards, licenses, store loyalty cards, subway pass, concert/play/movie/plane tickets, passport, etc.)

Mobile development to financial companies could become a much bigger industry

Talener in general should be looking out for new trends and technology such as NFC.  We want to know what’s going on and to be relevant in current technologies when we speak with our hiring managers. 

Engineers like to build new technologies – there will be more and more engineers wanting to use it 

 

Posted in Current Events, Talener Blog

Google Glass

July 17th, 2013

By: Joe Barbano
The Google Glass Project (which may be the most anticipated user device since the iPhone) is scheduled to be released to the general public as early as late 2013. It has been showcased at tech conferences, shown in internet videos, and has been discussed extensively on tech blogs for the last couple years leading up to its release. Many feel that the upcoming product is the biggest step in the last decade to bridge the gap between reality and science fiction movies. Others feel that it is a terribly “goofy” looking product that will fail miserably. Whatever its fate, it certainly has the tech community buzzing.
What it is
Google glass is basically a glasses-like computerized device that presents the viewer with an augmented reality field of view, and functions somewhat like a smart phone that you wear on your head. Picture a pair of glasses, without the lenses, and instead has a small display in the upper right corner of the wearer’s eye, and a small microphone sitting right next to the person’s ear. The small chip residing in front of the person’s right eye presents a display in the field of view of the individual wearing the glasses, but cannot be seen by others. The display looks like the presentation of applications of a smartphone that you can see in front of you. A touch-pad on the side of the device allows you to swipe through the several applications the device will offer, such as weather, news, photos, calendar, etc. The product itself has a flexible feel, so that it fits all head sizes, and it is available in several colors. It is also lighter than an average pair of prescription glasses. Currently, it is not compatible with people who wear glasses, but Google plans to rectify that around the time of the product’s release to the general public. Also, Google is currently in talks with Ray Ban to make a sunglasses version of the product.
What it does
Google Glass will have a similar functionality to that of a smart phone. You can interact with Google Glass by swiping the touch pad, or simply by uttering the phrase, “OK, Glass” followed by a command. The commands you can give to glass range from telling it to record a point-of-view video with its 720p miniature camera, to pulling up walking directions, to searching for things on Google. Google glass responds back to you via the microphone sitting right next to the ear, and the sound is inaudible to others. Google Glass will be able to sync with your smartphone, and it has 16 gigabytes worth of storage. Currently, Google is allowing 3rd party developers to make apps for the product through the release of the Mirror API. These expected apps include facial recognition software, Facebook, and many more.
How Can I Get Google Glass?
The release date to the general public has been delayed a few times since 2011. Currently, the product is only available to testers and developers for US$ 1500. However, Google has assured the public that the product will be much less expensive in its general release- closer to the price of a smartphone. The release date is expected to be sometime in late 2013, but many predict it will not be made available until early 2014. More info can be found on the official site: http://www.google.com/glass/start/

Posted in Current Events, Talener Blog

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