May 30th, 2014
After several years of development, safety procedures, and legal wrangling, this week Google revealed one of their most intrepid projects yet: the newest version of their driverless car. While Google has been working on self-driving cars for the past four years, all previous models retained mechanisms to return control to human drivers if desired. The new model removes human interaction from the equation completely by eliminating several of the main features that come to mind when we think of a car. Axing the steering wheel, gas pedal, and brake, Google’s vision for the automobile of the future brings new meaning to a base-model car.
The images and video released of the protype look more like an amusement park version of a Smart car than standard vehicle, with the squashed two-seater featuring a face-like front and mounted light radar system. Even with a smiley-looking front, Google insists that safety is the serious, number-one concern for the car. An intensive tracking system removes blind spots, color codes on-road distractions, and detects even tiny objects and intrusions within the distance equivalent to two football fields in all directions. All controls will be handled via a simple start button, a panic stop control, and a smartphone app that will allow riders to set destinations. Designed for urban and suburban use, the car has a top speed of 25 mph and is currently being imagined as a shuttling service that can be called upon (not unlike a completely automated Uber).
Obviously just the thought of driverless cars whizzing on our streets bring to mind some serious questions which we discussed in our offices:
– Google will once again get even more access to user whereabouts. How will they use this data? (And how are they already using location data built into our Android devices?)
– How will Google, a technology company-first, compare to automotive firms who are working on similar designs? Will they simply sell the technology that power these cars or actually move into manufacturing as well?
– Will Google be held responsible for driverless accidents?
– Will the car itself become a new platform for advertisers? For ad-tech companies this could mean a new level of geotargeting advertising based on destinations.
Head to YouTube to check out some videos of the protype car in action!
Posted in Current Events, Talener Blog
May 27th, 2014
Graduation season is in full-swing and around the nation commencement speakers are offering words of wisdom to students embarking on the next step of their life journey. U.S. Navy admiral and University of Texas, Austin, alumnus William H. McRaven returned to his alma mater with a powerful speech that will resonate with everyone – from graduating college seniors to seasoned professionals who have been in the workforce for decades.
Among McRaven’s advice are the following life lessons learned during the grueling six-months of basic training:
Start the day right by making your bed. The small chore will kick off a day of tasks and will help things in perspective as a reminder that the little details matter in life.
If you want to change the world get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward. Those in boot camp who didn’t pass uniform inspection (which is everyone at some point) are required to trudge through water fully-clothed and roll around in the sand until they are a fully-covered “sugar cookie.” While many complain about the seemingly-meaningless task – those who understand the practice in patience and fortitude make it through to the entire training period.
Sing when you’re up to your neck in mud. Even the most oppressive task can be lightened when a team member rises to the occasion and tries to motivate the team (through song or any other motivational advice).
Posted in Career Tips, Talener Blog, Talener Culture
May 9th, 2014
After a three year hiatus, Facebook announced at South by Southwest that they would once again be hosting a developers-only conference dedicated to professionals that build technologies and services that integrate with the website and expanding suite of apps and products. Named for the related 8-hour hackathon, in the past the f8 Conferences sprouted up conveniently when the company needed to make big announcements. But this year Mark Zuckerberg committed to continuing the event annually – similar to the yearly conferences hosted by other tech bigwigs like Google and Apple.
Rather than focus on consumer launches, a mainstay of past conferences, this year’s event catered more to the interests of developers. With a reputation for drastic changes and unreliability, Facebook is attempting to legitimize their strategy and avoid any past weariness from developers and businesses that rely on their platform for their livelihoods.
Here’s a few of the major announcements from this year’s f8 conference hosted on April 30 and what we think it means for the tech community:
One Platform To Rule Them All:
Today Facebook views themselves as much more than a social network… and it’s very true. As Zuckerberg said, Facebook wants to become a “cross-platform platform” that runs across all devices and systems from iOs to Android to the web to any other new operating system that pops up. As Facebook doesn’t have a mobile operating system of their own, it’s their best bet to position themselves as an ultimate, accessible solution for all types of users and businesses. This means Facebook can be useful for many different people – from game developers looking to run the next Farmville to adtech professionals looking to utilize the valuable advertising data and beyond.
Getting Serious About Security:
Two new features will interest those with an eye on privacy. “Anonymous Login” will allow users to sign into social apps without having to share any personal account information. In addition, the new “Line-by-Line Login” will let users decide exactly what information they chose to share with apps. Through this new service, users will be able to pick and chose exactly what info to share on a case-by-case basis. While developers may lose the potential for additional access to valuable personal data, it may drive up actual user numbers from people who are willing to use the anonymous login feature.
Making Facebook Hashtags #Useful
Facebook got a bad wrap when they implemented hastags a while back. In addition to being called out for copying Twitter’s mainstay trend-linker, some marketers claimed that including hashtags in posts actually drove down post visibility. To let developers to make the most of hashtags, new APIs will allow TV shows and media companies to visualize trending insights to show public posts on topics and actually tally real-time mention data. This will open up a whole new channel of opinion insight for developers, media analysts, and marketers.
For a detailed listing of other updates announced at f8, check out this article on Tech Crunch!
Posted in Current Events, Talener Blog
May 6th, 2014
It’s no surprise that working at a startup is markedly different from your more traditional corporate office job. With slim budgets and an eye always on growth, employees are expected to be masters within their job’s specialty area, brand evangelists who are able to promote the company’s mission, and have the highest level of dedication.
But what other work traits are typically desired at startups? Our employee Tim Olesnavage recently spoke with Leslie Stevens-Huffman from Dice News about what startup clients are looking for in their next employee. Among the list of desired traits:
• Resiliency: The ability to keep running and find solutions in the face of recurring roadblocks.
• Self-Motivation: Limited direction and management means employees must be able to take initiative and be comfortable making risky decisions.
• Flexibility: From a tech perspective, typically super specialists aren’t needed. Instead you should be comfortable working across all stages of the development life cycle as you’ll probably be expected to code, test, architect and interface with initial customers.
To see what else startup founders are looking for, check out the complete list on Dice News.
Think you fit the bill of the ideal startup employee? Search our board for the newest startup jobs!
Posted in Career Tips, Talener Blog