Thursday, February 16, 2017

Goodbye Screens, Hello Choice (and less legroom)

Airlines have figured out we don't want to watch little screens with four crappy films...

The screens and their wiring add weight to the plane, and when fuel prices are high, every pound makes a difference. Another financial incentive: Without the screens, carriers can install slimmer seats, which means they can accommodate more passengers and earn more money, Brett Snyder, the author of the airline industry blog “Cranky Flier,” said in an interview.

“Rise of in-flight Wi-Fi aside, the zero screen purchases made by Southwest aligns with the fact that many of the carrier’s flights are shorter in duration than the time it takes to finish a movie,” he said, as reported in the NYT.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Are Microservices the Future of Cloud Computing?

SAP President Steve Singh is already looking to the future, and shared his forecast on an episode of CNBC’s “Mad Money”:

There’s another shift coming, and that’s from cloud computing to microservices. Now I realize that microservice is a bit geeky so maybe I can give you a simple example. When Kate, your producer, sent me an email saying, ‘hey would you like to come on the show’ obviously, I always love seeing you so I said, ‘I’ll be there Thursday.’ And just in that email thread, it automatically decided that I should book travel for Steve out to New York so I can join you on the show. All of that happened from the email. So what’s happening is the email is saying, look I need to book travel. I’ll just call Concur and have Concur do it for me. So as a user, I don’t go into Concur. I just go about my normal daily routine and the applications start to take actions for me all seamlessly.”
Concur is the travel expense software startup that Singh led through its sale to SAP for $8.3 billion in 2014. The acquisition turned SAP into one of the largest cloud companies in the world. As part of the deal, Singh joined as an executive board member and president of business networks and applications. Here's a site that touts SAP microservices. Read more about the SAP president's ideas...

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Robot bees to polinate

From Slasdot,

A ... reader writes: An engineer in Japan has built a 1.6-inch "pollinator-bot" and successfully tested it in his lab. The drone's creator "has armed it with paintbrush hairs that are covered in a special gel sticky enough to pick pollen up, but not so sticky that it holds on to that pollen when it brushes up against something else," reports The Economist. They write that his experiments with the tiny drone "show that the drone can indeed carry pollen from flower to flower in the way an insect would -- though he has yet to confirm that seeds result from this pollination." While flown by a human pilot, next he hopes to equip the drones with their own flower-recognizing technology.

Read more here...

Friday, February 10, 2017

Ford Bets on an Unknown, in the Race to Autonomy

We learned that...

Seemingly out of the blue, Ford announced today that it's investing $1 billion in Argo AI, a Pittsburgh-based company building self-driving technology. Ford is effectively buying the previously unknown startup, which was founded by engineers from Google and Uber. Argo AI will operate as an independent subsidiary and will focus on developing a software platform for Ford's self-driving car, which the company is targeting for 2021. Notably, Ford is also planning to license the technology out to other companies.


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Autonomous Air Taxi From Airbus

The autonomous plane can fly a single passenger on trips of around 50 miles. From a report on FastCompany: Airbus teased two possibilities for the Vahana on December 14: an electric helicopter and a plane with wings that tilt up to enable vertical take off and landing, or VTOL. After its engineers ran the numbers on both types, Airbus today announced that it's building a prototype of the sci-fi looking tilt-wing plane, which will begin test flights before the end of the year. "The vehicle is being built. Parts are being made as we speak," says Airbus chief engineer Geoffrey Bower. The company's goal is to get air taxis in service in about 10 years, possibly partnering with ride-hailing companies like Uber. "We would love to see what that kind of partnership might evolve into," says Maryanna Saenko of Airbus Ventures

Read mOre at FC....