This is the world’s first Sony E-Mount 35mm film camera – and it’s open source

Standard

This is the world’s first Sony E-Mount 35mm film camera – and it’s open source

Well, this is an interesting turn up for the books. It turns out that while many photographers are trying to adapt their old film cameras to their shiny new Sony cameras, one photographer, Alexander Gee, was doing the opposite. He wanted a film camera that would work with his modern Sony E-Mount lenses.

LEX, as the camera is called, is a one-man operation, and it seems to have come quite far already. Gee plans to make LEX fully open source, once complete, with much of the camera being easily 3D printable and easy to modify. Don’t have Sony lenses? No problem, just modify it for another camera mount and print that out instead.

3D printed cameras aren’t a new idea, but there’s a lot more thought and testing gone into this one than more primitive 3D printed cameras. Gee has documented the entire build process over on the LEX website. Some parts, obviously, can’t be 3D printed, and Gee has repurposed the shutter mechanism from a Sony A7. And a few parts of the body have made using cast ZA2 alloy.

Although the first working prototype looks, as Gee describes, “like a bomb prop from a movie”, he says that it actually worked. The camera contains some custom electronics, presumably to control things like the lens aperture, and shutter mechanism.

While it doesn’t support DX coding, Gee says you can tap in any ISO from as low as 6 all the way up to 512,000. Obviously, though, this is just for the meter. The actual ISO will still depend on the film you’re using and how you intend to develop it.

Once LEX is complete, Gee may consider crowd-funding to run up a small batch of completed cameras. There’s no word on exactly when that may happen or how much they’ll cost. But after this, the files are expected to be released for you to make your own.

Hopefully, by then, we’ll have a better source for shutter mechanisms than ripping them out of Sony A7 cameras.

Check out the complete development process on the LEX website, and don’t forget to check out the sample photos shot by LEX.

[via Sony Alpha Rumors]

from DIYPhotography.net -Hacking Photography, One Picture At A Time http://bit.ly/2JoNchA
via IFTTT

The Smart Scale Tackle’s a Designer’s Worst Nightmare: Human Error

Standard

The year is 1999, the month, September. There’s panic at the NASA headquarters because they’ve just lost contact with their Mars Climate Orbiter. The orbiter entered the Martian atmosphere, but the thrusters fired too late, resulting in a crash with a loss estimated at $125 million. The problem? NASA was working in conjunction with England-based Lockheed Martin. Lockheed sent over navigational commands for the thrusters to NASA in imperial units (pounds of force), and NASA’s software inputted that information assuming it was in metric units (Newtons). Singlehandedly the biggest dimensioning unit related blunder, the Mars Climate Mission is an example of how frustrating it is working with different units across different systems that are prevalent in different countries.

Inventor Joanne Swisterski has had her share of problems too. Often working with clients across the world, she’s had to work with data that was sometimes imperial or metric, or even worse, not to scale (I sympathize too; a client sent me blueprints that he said were to scale, but he happened to click on the “fit to page” option while printing, resulting in a small yet significant difference in output, resulting in a loss of time, material, and eventually money).

Dimensioning is such a major part of what we designers do, and accuracy is everything as far as it’s concerned, so why are we still battling such primitive problems? This pushed Joanne to design the Smart Scale, a scale with a screen and the smarts to help resize, convert, and divide, allowing you to work with alien data, but a system that you’re more familiar with. The Smart Scale works in three ways making your life as a designer, architect, engineer, or plotter INFINITELY easier while working with measuring units that you may be unfamiliar with, or may be of a different scale.

Designed to look just like the triangular scales we’ve worked with in the past, the Smart Scale comes with a slender, horizontal screen where you’d see the measurements, and a row of buttons on top. Switch it on, and its 12-inch e-ink display powers up showing you a scale in a measuring unit of your choice. Cycling between inches and millimeters is as easy as pushing a button… however, here’s where things get better. The Smart Scale allows you to create a custom scale depending on what you’re measuring. If you’re working with a scaled down set of prints, the Smart Scale allows you to input one reference measurement using a slider on the back, and it creates a brand new scale using that reference, allowing you to measure scaled up or scaled down models in their native unit without having to sit with a calculator, multiplying or dividing away to get accurate data. A simple convert button allows you to cycle between imperial and metric measurements, depending on a system you use, or your client uses, allowing you to collaborate with countries with varying national standards without having your own version of the Mars Climate Orbiter crisis. A third and rather interesting function is its ability to work as a divider. The slider on the back allows you to measure a given area, then simply use the keypad to choose how many divisions you want it in and the screen divides the given length into the inputted amount of divisions… while always presenting you with the data you need on the left-hand side of the screen, telling you exactly what unit you’re measuring in, etc.

The Smart Scale notices a problem we’ve never really worked on solving effectively. Looking and behaving exactly like the scales we’ve used in the past, it’s the equivalent of a digital vernier, albeit much smarter and definitely more useful. The screen on the Smart Scale comes with a beautiful contrast, and a high resolution making it accurate and legible, while its aluminum body keeps things classy and protects the electronics inside. The Smart Scale comes with a MicroUSB port for easy charging and an incredibly long battery life, given the e-ink display’s minimal energy footprint.

Speaking from personal experience, the Smart Scale is probably the most innovative step we’ve taken in the recent past in making sure our tools for problem-solving ‘don’t have any problems themselves’. The Smart Scale saves time, energy, material, and eventually money too, making work for designers, engineers, and architects much more efficient, whether you’re working across borders, or with someone who’s used to a different unit system than you. An absolute must-have for everyone who uses linear measurements in their day-to-day lives, the Smar Scale eliminates chances of human error, making you as a professional much more effective, efficient, and valuable!

Designer: Joanne Swisterski

Click here to Buy Now: $149.00 $159.00 Hurry, 8 days left!

smart_scale_ruler_01

smart_scale_ruler_07

smart_scale_ruler_03

smart_scale_ruler_04

This function allows you to take a drawing that was printed out of scale and measure it as though it was perfectly to scale. This is made possible by using the sliding pointer. Line up the start of a known dimension (point A) with the fixed pointer. Move the slider to the end of the dimension (point B). Input the distance it represents, your desired units and hit enter. The screen will regenerate itself to the new custom scale.

smart_scale_ruler_05

This function allows you to convert the screen between metric and imperial. For example, if you’ve received a drawing in imperial, and you’re more comfortable with metric, tap the convert button and the long screen regenerates to the metric version of whatever was on the screen previously, or vice versa.

smart_scale_ruler_06

This function is applicable when you need to divide a space into a number of equal sections. For example, if you have to make 4 equally spaced lines on a drawing, instead of working out the math separately you simply follow the same steps as the with the custom scale section above. Move the sliding pointer across the distance that requires dividing. Input 4 on the number pad and the ruler will display 4 equally spaced notches on the screen.

Click here to Buy Now: $149.00 $159.00 Hurry, 8 days left!

from Yanko Design http://bit.ly/2K9FsBs
via IFTTT

Bartenders Should Shush People

Standard

I like a quiet bar. I have since I was 21. This isn’t an unusual desire; any time I’m at a bar past 8, someone (sometimes it’s not even me!) eventually says “Sorry, I couldn’t hear you. The bar got so loud!” Even the quietest dive fills up now and then with people shouting to be heard, when each person individually wishes the place were quieter. Why, as a culture, have we failed to find a way out of this loudness war? Why are most bars so fucking loud?

As my colleague Kelly Stout recently noted at Deadspin, it only takes one person to make the whole place louder. And once that happens, it’s extremely hard to quiet the place down again. Even if one whole group of patrons quiets down, the whispering isn’t nearly as viral as the shouting. Quieting down takes an active command directed at the whole establishment. And only the most officious bar patron would have the nerve to ask all their fellow patrons to quiet down. The solution, then, lies with the bar’s staff. At any bar that isn’t actively cultivating a rager atmosphere, the staff should be shushing the customers.

The bartender is the only person in the place whom everyone must obey. While the owner can set policy, it’s the bartender who makes the decisions on the ground: who gets served first, who gets the good pours, who gets cut off. The bartender is the only one who can claim the authority to set the volume level. The bartender gives and the bartender takes, so the bartender will be obeyed.

Advertisement

Like the universal basic income, this revolutionary idea has been tested in a real-world experiment. At Burp Castle, in New York’s East Village, whenever the conversation starts getting loud, the bartenders (sometimes dressed as monks, don’t worry about it) will deliver a long, gentle shhhhhhhh. And it works. Everyone in the place settles down to a whisper. I’ve heard it happen many times, and most everyone enjoys it. They recognized the shushing as friendly, not chastising, a necessary check on an innocent human failing. Burp Castle has a 4-star Yelp rating and is, of course, my favorite bar. A few friends chafe at the shushing; they’re still my friends, but I’ve learned something about them.

This is, I’ll grant, a somewhat extreme and idealized example. Burp Castle only seats a couple dozen people, mostly at tables of two or three. It’s a beer-only bar, which encourages slower alcohol consumption, and it serves only a small craft selection, which encourages patrons to sip thoughtfully (or at least pretentiously) and empowers its bartenders as counselors and beer sommoliers. The music is sometimes jazz, sometimes actual Gregorian chants. The walls are covered in murals of monks behaving badly. Fine, it’s a theme bar. Everything about the place supports the shush gimmick.

Advertisement

But there are plenty of classic bars, heavy on the beer and the natural wood, where the occasional shush wouldn’t feel out of place. Wine bars, high-quality liquor bars, bars with multiple hokey signs about not pissing off the staff—all bars where the bartender/patron relationship gives off a whiff of the dom/sub—are ready for the shush. It’d work great in performatively secretive “speakeasies,” and give those places some reason to exist beyond pretending Prohibition wasn’t repealed.

The level of noise that triggers a shush will vary from bar to bar. In some places the shush will be a bell, or a word, or hell, an ear-shattering airhorn that scares the noise right out of people. And obviously, obviously not every bar should have the shush. Some places are meant to be rowdy. Maybe we’ll find that the ideal percentage of bars that shush is 90%—maybe it’s just 10%. But it’s absolutely more than one.

from Lifehacker http://bit.ly/2Hrtsxy
via IFTTT

A stunning new video shows what it’s like to fly past a comet tumbling through space

Standard

comet

  • A comet known as Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko was visited by the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft for two years.
  • The agency released a new batch of photos of the comet in March.
  • A fan of the spacecraft animated some of those images into a stunning new timelapse video of Rosetta’s view as it flew past the comet.
  • The movie shows dust flying around Comet 67P as it tumbles against a field of stars.

In August 2014, the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft pulled up to Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko and studied the gritty, duck-shaped object for 2 years.

Today the ESA continues to publish new images taken by the probe, and it March it released a fresh batch of data.

Many of Rosetta’s photos were taken in sequence — so Twitter user "landru79" stacked and stitched the pictures into a stunning new timelapse movie, posted Monday.

"Amazing scene from #comet #67P," the ESA tweeted about landru79’s work.

The video clip (below) shows roughly 25 minutes of flight past Comet 67P on June 1, 2016. The scene looks like something out of a science-fiction film:

In the background, a field of stars moves behind Comet 67P as it tumbles through space.

Rosetta took the photos just a few months after the roughly 2.5-mile-long comet shot out a burst of material. So in the foreground, sunlit specks of ice and dust float near a cliff that stands thousands of feet tall.

Cosmic rays also hit Rosetta’s camera sensor, causing white streaks in the series of black-and-white images.

In addition to photographing Comet 67P, Rosetta also set down a probe called Philae on the comet’s surface — though the lander rolled into a shady crevice and was never heard from again.

On September 30, 2016, the ESA purposefully crashed Rosetta into the wad of ice, rock, and dust. The robot took a final and fateful sequence of images along the way.

SEE ALSO: Here’s how high you could jump on other worlds in the solar system

DON’T MISS: A diamond-encrusted meteorite that fell to Earth may come from a long-lost planet in our solar system

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Where, when, and how to watch this weekend’s meteor shower created by Halley’s Comet

from SAI https://read.bi/2vKdEAu
via IFTTT

Amazon can now deliver packages to the trunk of your car

Standard

Amazon is taking its relationship with its customers to the next level.

On Tuesday, Amazon announced that it is extending its Amazon Key delivery service from homes to personal vehicles. With Amazon Key In-Car, Amazon couriers will be able to deliver packages inside signed up customers’ cars.

Amazon Key In Car isn’t available to everyone yet. It is enabled in 2015 or newer General Motors or Volvo vehicles equipped with cloud-connected technologies (OnStar and Volvo on Call, respectively). It’s only accessible to Prime members, and it has launched in 37 cities; Amazon customers can check whether they qualify here.

Customers can sign up their vehicles through the Amazon Key app. Then, while shopping on Amazon, they can select their car as their chosen delivery method whenever they want to. Cars have to be parked within a two-block radius of a specified address, and can’t be in a multi-level, underground, or restricted-access parking garage.

Amazon Key In-Car is an expansion of Amazon Key, which let couriers deliver packages directly inside people’s homes using keypad and smart locks and cameras. With Amazon Key, customers had to purchase the enabled keypads and cameras to qualify. But Amazon Key In-Car is available to anyone with OnStar or Volvo On Call access.

“Customers have also told us they love features like keyless guest access and being able to monitor their front door from anywhere with the Amazon Key App,” Peter Larsen, Amazon vice president of delivery technology, said in a statement. “In-car delivery gives customers that same peace of mind and allows them to take the Amazon experience with them. And, with no additional hardware or devices required, customers can start ordering in-car delivery today.”

Amazon has built in a number of safety features — which is a good thing considering the security hiccoughs they’ve already experienced with Amazon Key. In February of this year, an Amazon customer found an Amazon delivery man walking around his bedroom. And in November, security researchers found that a flaw in Amazon Key cameras made it vulnerable to being knocked out in an attack.

Cameras aren’t available with Amazon Key In-Car. But customers will be able to monitor the delivery process step-by-step from their own devices. A delivery person’s request to unlock goes through Amazon, then to OnStar or Volvo On Call. And couriers won’t be able to move on to their next delivery until they have scanned the package confirming delivery, and locked the vehicle back up.

Amazon, GM, and Volvo said that delivery people won’t be able to turn on or access any other electric features once they have access to the car. Volvo said that its cars equipped with Volvo On Call still need a physical key to actually drive it. Mashable is awaiting confirmation regarding whether this is the case for OnStar-equipped GM vehicles, too, and will update this story when we know more.

“Select customers” have already had early access to the feature, and Amazon shockingly reports that they love it.

So, if you trust Amazon enough to give it access to your home (as well as all of your data!), Amazon Key In-Car could be an even more convenient option for you.

from Mashable! https://on.mash.to/2qVPDAX
via IFTTT

This short video shows the surface of a comet

Standard

This short video shows the surface of a comet

In 2014, Rosetta spacecraft became the first spacecraft to orbit a comet and bring the back the first-ever photos of it surface. In this short video, someone has brought the frames together to create a sense of motion. And it makes the whole thing even more impressive.

Rosetta spacecraft was launched in 2004 from the Guiana Space Centre. On 7 May 2014, it reached Comet Churyumov–Gerasimenko. It orbited the comet for 17 months performed the most detailed study of a comet ever attempted.

Twitter user landru79 used the photos captured on 1 June 2016 by Rosetta. These are 12.5-second-exposure images stitched together to create a video. It only lasts one minute, but if you’re a space geek, it will fill you with joy.

Landru79 briefly describes the process, as much as it can fit within a tweet:

“It’s only a pre-work stacking and balancing B/N frames… Next step colour gif using only filters 22 -orange-, 23 -green-  and 24 -blue-  ~6 RGB posible.  Will see… much paralax to manage”

The users guess that the dots in the background are a field of background stars, and all the long streaks are foreground dust. The video may be short, but it was just enough to spark people’s imagination and have them fantasize about attaching themselves to the comet and riding along.

[via PetaPixel; lead image credits: Buddy_Nath]

from DIYPhotography.net -Hacking Photography, One Picture At A Time http://bit.ly/2HrvQAi
via IFTTT

Proxeus wants to be the WordPress of blockchain

Standard

Can blockchain technology fix the soul sucking tedium and cost of back-and-forth bureaucracy? The Swiss team behind a blockchain-based platform, called Proxeus, believes it can — and that that will be just the tip of what decentralization brings down the pipe, once components such as crypto identities become an accepted (and legal) standard.

Blockchain’s big picture vision is embedded crypto identities opening up all sorts of additional opportunities — from a new wave of share trading and lending, to frictionless identity verification.

But right now the technology remains nascent, with some fundamental challenges — such as energy efficiency and scalability — yet to be overcome and thus standing in the way of blockchain’s much touted transformative potential.

That’s why the team behind Proxeus has taken what co-founder Antoine Verdon dubs a “very pragmatic, very Swiss” approach to blockchain — aiming to bridge the gap between the old (but real) world of linear workflow processes and the brave but still alternative reality where everything that can be decentralized has been.

So they’re focused on enabling blockchain to be used to optimize single processes and workflows — as a first step towards greater transformations.

“Blockchain is going to change the whole way we organize ourselves, the whole way we build software, the whole way that even democracy works — and the whole way societies are organized,” says Verdon, laying out his blockchain faith before tempering it with a little local pragmatism. “The impact will be quite deep and eventually really powerful but in the first step it’s just another digital technology bringing efficiency to businesses.”

The team’s aim for their platform is to become ‘the WordPress of blockchain’. The technology is open source, and the platform will be made freely available for anyone to use (people building Proxeus apps can monetize them via charging fees based on usage).

Back in February Proxeus raised $25M, via an ICO for their XES token, to community fund this vision.

“At its core Proxeus is a workflow builder and document generator,” says Verdon. “We have a framework which allows anyone to come and use building blocks to create workflows and at the end blockchain apps. But — just like WordPress is a website creation tool — we don’t intend to go down one level in terms of offering products ourselves and going directly into the market.

“We see ourselves and the Proxeus model as a toolbox and a tool provider.”

“We’re working on APIs on both sides,” he adds. “Both connecting Proxeus to different blockchains — we’re now connecting to Ethereum and Hyperledger — and on the input side, connecting Proxeus with a series of ERPs.”

He says another of of the goals is a connection for SAP systems.

The team has been developing the platform for 2.5 years, at this stage. They’re now beta-testing and running their first trials. And Verdon is hopeful the first live applications will be running on the platform by the end of the year, once they come out with a public product.

One interesting use-case for their blockchain technology — which they just last week publicly demoed in a prototype form under test conditions, as an entry in the digitalswitzerland challenge — is a company registration system using a digitized blockchain process to radically shrink how long the necessary administration takes.

The traditional route for registering a company in Switzerland takes an average of 10 days, according to Verdon. He says the process can take as long as six weeks. But the team’s proof-of-concept demo delivered a company registration in less than two hours — though it should be noted they had been working up to that for a year, and collaborating with IBM and Swisscom on the project.

What reducing the time it takes to register a company meant in practice was Proxeus creating a digitized workflow for the entire multi-step process — using blockchain to decentralize the steps (and thus help break down linear bottlenecks), combined with smart contracts to enclose and enforce rules around how to create a company (such as the need for a certain number of shareholders and shares), thereby enabling all involved parties to be on the same page.

“We started with a very traditional digitization project — we digitize the way documents are created and the user can create them, give his input in a much more efficient way,” explains Verdon. “But we add the blockchain piece on top of that to make the digitization process even more efficient than it otherwise would be. The main problem slowing down the registration process is there is a complex sequence of partners… The problem is before one party has finished their work the next one cannot start — that’s the thing that we solved with blockchain.

“The entrepreneur registers their own company [but] the company registration is pending until the other parties come and say yes the money has been paid, yes the conditions are fulfilled… Seeing things like this as a a list of check boxes that need to be checked, instead of a sequence, it’s a much more efficient way to work.”

Proxeus built a web interface for the prototype so that all the parties involved in making company registrations happen could log in; contribute their pieces of work; and “give their okay to the process” — all without needing to know how blockchain works.

Another bit of Swiss pragmatism: Proxeus’ system enables even blockchain refuseniks to participate because it still allows for paper documents to be sent. (In that case other parties in the chain can digitize the document and check the necessary confirmation box to keep things moving along.) Though too many blockchain refuseniks/paper-pushers would clearly reintroduce some friction to the process.

For the proof-of-concept Proxeus also pared back the workflow to a most basic case. But it’s an interesting example, nonetheless. And one that Verdon believes illustrates the potential of what can be achieved once lots of organizations start to experiment with — and see potential in — decentralizing their processes.

“We have a quite pragmatic way for any company to start connecting the business workflows — maybe in the legal space but we also working with a large Swiss university to digitize their master degrees and use blockchain to verify them,” he tells TechCrunch.

“We are in discussion with a car manufacturer, with a commodity trader. We receive almost every day requests from many large companies interested to use Proxeus as a sort of sand box that will allow them to test how blockchain could transform their business value and the way they work.”

What is being replaced here? Some purely administrative job roles. “All those job roles that mainly consist of receiving information in one form — for example paper — and inputting it into another format, for example, digitally, they will gradually disappear,” predicts Verdon. Though that’s clearly not going to happen overnight. (But once blockchain infrastructure starts to be widely used change could happen suddenly.)

“We know there are really crazy blockchain ideas out there… but it will take several steps before we go into those new business models and ideas. I think what’s lacking — and I hope we’ll be bringing — is this bridge between the traditional world and the workflows up to this blockchain,” he adds.

While Proxeus has worked with partners on the company register example, to showcase how this bridging strategy can work — taking one process and digitizing it in a way that “doesn’t change anything”, and thereby allowing all players to jump into using blockchain — its hope is that it can develop this into an ecosystem of users who pick up the baton and start figuring out how blockchain can work for them.

“We see ourselves as enablers of businesses who want to use Proxeus technology,” says Verdon. “If everything goes well at some point there will be people and for-profit businesses coming and taking the Proxeus technology and charging clients for implementing that in a way that is compatible with company needs. Just like Accenture, for example, is implementing SAP solutions with other companies. We think that our role will be also developing a network of partners that understand Proxeus and can take it and apply it with industry clients.

“We keep the door open for doing part of this ourselves — but we see ourselves more as an enabler than as the ones that will be actually doing the business at the end.”

“It’s a decentralized model where we have our own cryptocurrency now with the ICO with the excess and the excess will be used to co-ordinate the different parts provided by the parties of the decentralized ecosystem, so that one party will be able to download Proxeus as a DApp [decentralized app] and make it run on their own server. If they want to create a workflow then they can do it. If they want to — for example, if another country now wants to create a company register and sees our system as a good model then you could buy the workflow created by the other company or country, in that case,” he continues.

“Then if you want to store your documents created on a server which is not yours then other production could be taken by the party in the ecosystem and all those relationships between the IP creators, the storage partners, the DApp holders, using services of others, will be connected through Proxeus in a visible way… and there are ways to allow them also to pay with Euros or Swiss franks, or whatever they want. But the underlying mechanisms will be reviewed by access and there it’s going to be up to the parties to decide whether they want to provide their services for a fee, and if for a fee then they will have to pay it with excess.”

In the case of the Swiss company registry project, Verdon says the hope now is it will be taken forward into an actual deployment. The team is in discussions with the Swiss state which he describes as the “natural” lead partner for that particular use-case.

A first productive version could come as early as this year, he adds. Though he also notes it would be just a beginning — whoever gets involved would need to build on the MVP, adding “more and more complex cases”.

Because of course “there are many exceptions” involved in company registrations. And that’s where the soul-suckiness of bureaucracy starts to creep back in.

But Proxeus’ wider blockchain faith is that by decentralizing business processes it can at very least allow information to flow more freely — unlocking efficiency gains.

“Using blockchain is a very efficient way to make people collaborate better,” argues Verdon. “I think through [the platform] we have a quite pragmatic way for any company to start connecting the business workflows.”

Proxeus’ platform enables users to get their hands dirty playing around with decentralized app building too — which he touts as “much cheaper and faster” than traditional app development, as well.

“If we had built the company register application with a traditional process it would have been a very complex IT project,” he continues. “There are several parties… you would need to create one platform where they all come, and they all receive different permissions — it would be super complex.

“In our case everyone has their own small workflow, their own small decentralized app that we can build individually — and that are connected through a blockchain layer bringing all of them together, so I think it’s a much more efficient way to program applications.”

Beyond those near-term, and fairly tangible benefits, Verdon says businesses taking the blockchain leap of faith now — and playing around with what the tech can do for them, via the building blocks Proxeus is offering — are also positioning themselves to be ready for the more transformative “crazy” models coming down the pipe — i.e. as a consequence of mass adoption of decentralization (if/when it comes).

“Just like you have a verified account at Facebook or Twitter for personalities I think at some point you will have, on LinkedIn, the possibility to connect your crypto identities so you can have this small check next to your degrees — that you have verified degrees publicly,” he suggests, giving an example of how blockchain could create a major trust-based shift within existing digital ecosystems.

He won’t be drawn into making any specific predictions for how long it will take for blockchain to scale up to be able to deliver major scale process change. But he is convinced the core tech has the potential to drive some truly seismic shifts — including at a societal level.

“It’s still extremely new,” he argues, pointing to the blockchain ecosystem generally. “I think it’s going to take a few years still until, on the one hand, the protocols develop to a level where they can use less energy, be more efficient, and on the other hand where simply businesses have understood what blockchain will bring, how a decentralized business can be run, how blockchain can allow them to develop new services, new business on top of what they have.

“Just like with the Internet revolution… it took quite some time for businesses to really grasp the impact of that. And for clear models to develop how the different industries could use those technologies — so I think it’s going to be the same here. I expect you’re going to see first movers publishing some small-scale live applications this year but for really large services provided using blockchain we probably need to wait another couple of years.

“The longer term vision, the longer term impact may or may not happen at that scale — it has the potential to transform the whole way society works — but it still has to be proven.”

Verdon’s bio on Proxeus’ team page says he’s been involved in the crypto/blockchain space since 2012, including as an investor. He tells us he was an early investor in the YC- and Google Ventures-backed Buttercoin exchange, for instance — too early as it turned out, as the startup went bankrupt three years ago. So even though the core idea was solid — as the subsequent success of other Bitcoin exchanges, such as Coinbase, underlines — timing is key to any investment.

He claims better success investing in crypto currencies. Is he hodling his Bitcoins — despite recent downturns? “Yes, you must,” he replies, though he also cautions he “tries to diversify everything in crypto”.

“If you work in crypto you also have to believe that it’s going further,” he continues. “And sometimes you have a small heart attack but at the end the trend is very positive — if you compare the prices between January 2016, January 2017, January 2018 there is a very clear and a very high upward trend.”

It’s that same unshakeable conviction that Proxeus’ platform is founded on — and the faith that many more believers will come.

from TechCrunch https://tcrn.ch/2qRQcLX
via IFTTT

Do Your Global Entry Interview When You Return From a Trip at These Airports

Standard

Global Entry is by far one of the best investments in anything I’ve ever made. I travel internationally at least six times a year, often more, and customs in my home airport of San Francisco can sometimes take hours. My very first trip with Global Entry was on a return trip from Italy where I made it through a full hour and a half before my boyfriend did who was on the same flight and entered the customs area by my side.

Filling out the Global Entry form is easy, but requires an in-person interview which is less-than-easy to arrange. I wrote a post before about how the earliest appointment that was available at my airport was 8 months out when I was conditionally approved, and I walked in a week before that Italy trip and managed to get seen in 2 minutes.

Last week when I was returning from an international flight I noticed a new addition to the customs line “Global Entry Interview Upon Arrival.” Now at SFO (and some other airports), you can do that interview when you land and take advantage of the shorter lines all at the same time.

Advertisement

For me, my interview lasted roughly 5 minutes when I did it in-office, but they’re typically scheduled for 15, so you might be chatting with that customs officer for a bit. That said, if you’re already conditionally approved, it’s great that you can go ahead and use the service and take care of that pesky interview part, without having to wait for an official office appointment. And you’re skipping that potentially horrendous line for the Global Entry one, even though you’re not all the way approved yet.

The ability to interview when you land isn’t available everywhere, but it is available quite a few places. The list of airports is a bit too long to list here, but you can see them all narrowed down by state here.

The service is available in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, and Washington. You can also enroll upon arrival at a few airport locations in Canada.

Advertisement

If you’re flying into any of those from an international location soon and still haven’t signed up for Global Entry, now might just be the perfect time.

from Lifehacker http://bit.ly/2Hhurwc
via IFTTT

How to recycle your used and unwanted gadgets

Standard


Geo-grafika

You’re probably used to sorting your garbage into bins: green for paper, or blue for plastic and glass. But when it comes to electronics, we’re still used to selling those off or tossing them into the trash heap. Unfortunately, our gadget addiction has real consequences for the planet, making it imperative that we dispose of everything responsibly.

Sure, you can try parting with your stuff for cash, but it’s a pain, and it can be tough, if not impossible, to find someone who wants a busted Xbox or 20-year-old CRT. Few places have curbside pickup — in fact, some localities make it illegal to leave electronics for the garbage collectors — so you’re going to have to find a reputable center to take it. We’ve gathered some of the resources to help you dispense of your broken and unwanted computers, televisions and any other gadget flotsam that’s been taking up space in your closet.

National chains

Scrap metal, iron and computer dump for recycling or safe disposal. Ulsan, South Korea.

There is no national electronics recycling law at this time, so you won’t find any federal programs to assist you with getting rid of old devices — the USPS does run a program for federal agencies and their employees, but it’s not available to the general public. Instead, the rest of us have to rely on nationwide retailers to toss out our old stuff.

Best Buy

Best Buy has over 1,000 locations in the United States, so it’s likely you have one nearby where you can drop stuff off. You just need to take it to the customer service counter. They’ll issue you a receipt too, but keep in mind that you can’t claim the drop-off as a deduction on your taxes since Best Buy isn’t a charity. You can even recycle televisions and monitors, though you’ll be charged a fee of $25 per item to cover the higher costs of transporting and disassembling them. Best Buy limits you to three items per household per day, including up to two televisions.

Staples

There are only 300 Staples stores nationwide, but it has some perks over Best Buy — you can bring up to seven items per day and, if you recycle a printer, you get $50 off a new one. Recycling your stuff follows the same process — just bring your products to the customer service counter for a receipt. Staples Rewards members also receive a small credit of $2 for every used ink cartridge they turn in, up to 20 a month. Unfortunately, though, Staples does not recycle televisions.

Office Depot

Office Depot

Office Depot has over 1,300 locations to choose from, but unlike Staples and Best Buy, it won’t recycle your old gadgets for free. If you’re only getting rid of a few phones or batteries, those can still be turned in at no charge, but for everything else you must purchase a Tech Recycling Box, which costs $5, $10 or $15 depending on the size. Once you have the box, you can fill it with as many items as you want, provided they all fit inside, including smaller televisions. So it’s a great deal if you have a lot of stuff you want to dispose of. And if you’re looking to turn in some ink cartridges, Office Depot also offers $2 per cartridge, but only if you make a purchase of $10 or more in the same month.

Manufacturers

Stack of old, broken and obsolete laptop computer

If you can’t make it to a retail location, especially when you only need to get rid of one or two items, many companies offer recycling programs for their own products. They’ll even pay for shipping. Some run their own programs while others use outside organizations. We’ve outlined policies from a handful of manufacturers below.

Amazon

While Amazon would love to direct you to its trade-in program, you’re probably reading this post because there’s stuff you can’t sell, and for those items Amazon offers mail-in recycling. You can send in your busted Kindles, Fire TVs and even Dash Buttons, as well as select peripherals like keyboards and mice. You’ll just need to fill out some forms online and generate a shipping label, which you can slap on any box. Drop it off at a UPS location and you’re good to go — Amazon will cover all the costs.

Apple

Apple’s ‘Liam’ robot, which disassembles your old phones.

If your iPhone or MacBook is still in good shape, you should consider selling it, but if it’s old or beat up you can still score a gift card by turning it into Apple’s recycling program. For iPhones, iPad and Apple Watches you’ll be asked to fill out a form attesting to the product’s condition and given a trade-in quote, with a working iPhone 5 going for $35 and an iPhone 7 Plus scoring you $315. For Macs you’ll be asked to provide a serial number as well. Though Apple won’t give you any cash for anything deemed old or unacceptable, you can still mail it in or bring it to any Apple Store so it can be responsibly disposed of.

Dell

Dell offers drop-off recycling via a partnership with Goodwill. Not every location participates, but there are over 2,000 that do. And, because it’s a charity, you may even be able to deduct it as a donation on your taxes. Dell also has a mail-back program on its site where you can generate a shipping label and drop off the package off at a FedEx location instead.

Epson

You can ship old product back to Epson by simply creating a shipping label on its site and dropping it off at a FedEx location.

HP

If you can, HP recommends taking its products to the nearest Best Buy or Staples. But if that’s not feasible, the company participates in a program that will even buy back some items. You’ll be asked to fill out a form with the make, model and condition, and the recycler will email you a prepaid shipping label to mail the package within 30 days. If you’re doing a buyback you’ll receive a paper check in the mail. Because this isn’t an in-house program with HP, you can also send in items from other companies — check the drop down list for firms like Canon and Toshiba as well as more obscure and out-of-business manufacturers.

Other manufacturers

Many other companies use outside recyclers to dispose of their products, and you’ll often see the same names popping up again and again across different manufacturers. This should simplify things in some cases — you should be able to send in products from multiple sources in one package. You just need to fill in the make and model to generate a prepaid shipping label. However, different states have different rules on what you can return, so the drop-downs for selecting your product may vary by jurisdiction.

Two major recycling companies you’ll notice a lot are RLGA, which covers Acer, Canon, Google, Intel, Lenovo, Microsoft and Motorola, and MRM, which recycles product for Alcatel, BlackBerry, Barnes & Noble (nook), TCL and Toshiba.

Phones

Electronics Recycling

Cellphones are the easiest gadget to recycle — if you haven’t already decided to sell yours off on eBay or via sites like DeCluttr, Gazelle and ecoATM. But, if you can’t or won’t make some cold, hard cash off of it, you can send it to:

Call2Recycle, which has drop-off centers all over the country in many chain stores, including Lowes and Home Depot. They’ll also accept rechargeable batteries as well.

Cell Phones for Soldiers, which accepts phones in any condition and sells them to refurbishers or recyclers. The proceeds go toward purchasing phone cards for troops so they can call their friends and family back home. To be clear, the phones are not given directly to the soldiers.

All four of the major carriers, including Verizon and T-Mobile, offer free recycling as well. You can trade in your old device in-store or send it in for a credit toward a new phone, or let them straight up recycle it. AT&T participates in Cell Phones for Soldiers, while Sprint runs the 1Million Project, which works to get disadvantaged kids devices and internet access.

If you do decide to try your luck with Gazelle or ecoATM to see if your old phone is still worth a few bucks and it turns out it’s worth nothing, you can at least rest easy knowing that both companies will recycle your phone responsibly.

States

computer parts for electronic recycling

There may not be a national law dictating that you must recycle your electronics, but at least 26 states have passed their own rules that vary widely on what they demand of both manufacturers and consumers. Almost all states that do collect products for recycling provide this service for free, with the bill footed by the companies in some way. Most provide some local programs to help you get rid of your stuff, regardless of whether recycling your gadgets is required or optional.

States where you can no longer dispose of electronics in the regular trash and must recycle them include: California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.

The following states have laws requiring manufacturers to pay for recycling, but you, the consumer, are not actually required to recycle your electronics: Hawaii, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.

The following states have some special circumstances worth noting:

California: Consumers pay a small fee of $5 to $7 when they buy televisions and laptops. This is used to reimburse recyclers for the high cost of recycling these items, so you don’t get it back when you turn in these items for collection.

Connecticut: Does not allow recycling centers to charge you a fee for turning in electronics, so many organizations that would usually charge for recycling televisions and monitors do not accept them. Since you cannot dispose of them curbside, you can take them to a municipal transfer station for free.

Michigan: In addition to hosting numerous drop-off sites, Michigan will also pay for you to recycle your old gadgets by mail.

Pennsylvania: Does not allow retailers to charge you a fee to recycle, so places like Best Buy and Staples will not accept televisions or monitors. Many recycling centers have also closed as a result of underfunding. Some non-profit recyclers may still accept the items, and you should check to see if your local government is hosting any drop-off events. Lancaster and Dauphin Counties also still run civic recycling programs.

With it becoming more difficult to get rid of an old TV in Pennsylvania, with some people even resorting to illegal dumping, state senator Richard Alloway II introduced a bill last June mandating a fee on new purchases to offset the cost to recycling facilities. It’s been sitting in committee for the past year.

from Engadget https://engt.co/2vB7zq0
via IFTTT

The rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes, who started Theranos when she was 19 and became the world’s youngest female billionaire before it all came crashing down

Standard

Elizabeth Holmes

These days, blood-testing startup Theranos is on its last legs. 

But in 2014, the billion-dollar company and its CEO, Elizabeth Holmes, were on top of the world. Back then, Theranos was a revolutionary idea thought up by a woman hailed as a genius who styled herself as a female Steve Jobs. Holmes was the world’s youngest female self-made billionaire, and Theranos was one Silicon Valley’s unicorn startups. 

Then it all came crashing down.

The shortcomings and inaccuracies of Theranos’s technology were exposed, along with the role Holmes played in covering it all up. Theranos and Holmes were charged with massive fraud, and the company was forced to close its labs and testing centers. 

This is how Holmes went from precocious child to ambitious Stanford dropout to embattled startup CEO. 

SEE ALSO: Leaked video shows Theranos employees playing the video game they created where you shoot at the reporter who exposed the startup’s problems

Elizabeth Holmes was born on February 3, 1984 in Washington, D.C. Her mom, Noel, was a Congressional committee staffer, and her dad, Christian Holmes, worked for Enron before moving to government agencies like USAID.

Source: Elizabeth Holmes/TwitterCNN, Vanity Fair

Holmes’ family moved when she was young, from Washington, D.C. to Houston.

Source: Fortune

At the age of 9, Holmes wrote a letter to her father: "What I really want out of life is to discover something new, something that mankind didn’t know was possible to do."

Source: CBS News

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

from SAI https://read.bi/2Hl49Jg
via IFTTT