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January 7, 2018

top 5 silliest inventions in silicon valley

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The funniest and silliest Silicon Valley Inventions 


 
For every 10 things invented at silicon valley last year, there were atleast 8 things that count among the dumbest and screwed up this year.From a office tent called a pause pod to a the app-enabled vending machine Bodega.Silicon valley in its efforts to reinvent how people live and interact succeeded in altering the human mind by sheer idiocy and brain freeze. Here are the top 5 silliest silicon valley inventions that did not manage to make hay while the silicon valley sun was at its fiercest
1)Juicero 
What was “invented”: A wifi-enabled juicer with a powerful press designed to squeeze juice from a proprietary bag of fruit and vegetables. 
What already existed: Your hands, Capri Sun, juicers. 
Juicero was the silliest and most infamous, $400 juicer that sold its customers prepackaged bags of fruit and vegetables that, it said, could be pressed into delicious juice using only its machine. But Bloomberg figured out that the machine was unnecessary. You could just squeeze the bag with your bare hands and get about the same amount of juice from the vending machine.Five months and $118.5 million of investment later, Juicero was dead. The CEO of Juicero was last seen emerging from Burning Man, drinking an expensive snake oil from a company that also calls it “raw water" 

2)Bodega 
What iwas “invented”: A replacement for the corner store. 
What already existed: Vending machines, minibars. Bodega set a record time for a startup to experience public backlash. Bodega was an app-enabled vending machine with bougie products that aims to put your beloved, locally owned corner store out of business. “The vision here is much bigger than the box itself,” Bodega’s co-founder Paul McDonald told Fast Company. That interview ran on September 13th. On September 14th, Bodega apologised to “to anyone we’ve offended.” The apology focused on the name, which the company assured that it had market tested in “Latin American communities,” and 97 percent of respondents didn’t think it was offensive. What Bodega missed was that the entire concept was offensive.

3)Lyft Shuttle 
What it “invented”: Lyft, but for people who are cool with traveling on a set path in a shared vehicle for a lower rate. 
What already existed: A bus. Lyft Shuttle, launched as an experimental service in March of this year, was promoted as a cheaper, commuter-friendly alternative to hailing a Lyft. 
As the Verge noted, the entire thing more or less duplicated what a city bus already does: travels on a fixed route, picks up and drops off riders at predetermined spots and transports a larger group of people at one time.The only difference was that the Proceeds from the bus went back into the system that keeps the bus running, not into the coffers of a VC fund. Incredible work and Great job, Lyft. 

4)The Office Tent called Pause Pod 
what was the invention:your daily getaway at office
What already existed : your workstation 
Long days at office,terrible sleeping habits with day long stress and caffeinated delirium.This is where Odd Company's Pause Pod came in and tried to make a difference, to  increase your productivity at office.The Pause Pod was a kind of portable tent like pod a private pop up space where you could set up anywhere at your office, except inside that corner office where you boss sits the whole day.It was a tent which you can pitch up anywhere and disappear inside leaving your co workers bewildered and wondering what you are doing inside.

5)WeWork:
What was the Invention : A shared office space. 
What already existed : Roomates: 
With an $18billion valuation ,WeWork is worth more than Elon Musk's SpaceX.But unlike Elon Musk's rocket start up,WeWork has no moonshot ideas.WeWork just rents real estate and brands properties.WeWork is like WeLive  akin to living like roommates in a shared office space in a kind of communal offshoot.This is called “co-living” in the world of WeWork. In the real world, it’s called having roommates. If you elect to have a roommate rather “co-living” with someone, it tends to be cheaper, and you get to choose your own decor.




tech trends which will define 2018


 


From Space tourism to electric cars and the rise of virtual reality,technology is  transforming  our worlds faster than we can imagine. It is said "You cannot predict the rain , but you can build an ark". 2018 will see the dawn of newer technology which only existed in the realms of science fiction movies just 10 years ago.

While 2017 has seen AI Bots,Machine Learning, 3D printing, AR and Blockchain starting to become more  relevant and mainstream 2018 will be a year when many of these newer  technologies like Cryptocurrency Blockchain, Electric Cars Virtual Reality will find more acceptance and become advanced.Here are some of the technology trends which will make a big impact in 2018. 

1)Artificial Intelligence comes of age: There are three broad reasons for AI’s phenomenal growth in the last two-three years. First is the rapid advancement in machine- and deep-learning algorithms. Second is the availability of humongous amounts of data (hence known as Big Data) on which these algorithms can be trained. Third is the dramatic increase in computing power that includes more efficient computer processing units and graphic processing units. 

The results are clearly visible. In December, Alphabet-owned AI firm DeepMind announced that its AlphaZero algorithm took just 4 hours to learn all chess rules and defeat the world’s strongest open-source chess engine, Stockfish.

AlphaZero, which was modelled on DeepMind’s AlphaGo Zero computer programme, vanquished a world-champion programme in each game of chess, shogi (Japanese chess) and the Chinese game, Go, within 24 hours. Since automation and AI are better than humans with routine tasks, it has understandably given rise to the fear that automation and AI will take away our jobs and become more intelligent than human beings. In his 2006 book, The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology, American author and futurist Ray Kurzweil forecast that AI would surpass humans. By 2099, he added, machines would have attained a legal status equal to that of humans

2)AR and VR will become communal experiences: Right now VR(Virtual reality) is an isolating experience.You can put on a headset and immerse yourself into an make believe world in a universe where you and your own self inhabit.Going forward VR will allow a more immersive experience with your surroundings. VR and AR ( Augmented Reality) will allow communities to experience the world together.We will get to play work and explore the world in the form of alternate realities and our reality distortion field will be all about larger sharing VR  experiences.

3)Big Data overload and privacy concerns  Today every company in the world has begun to mine big data on consumer habits and shopping behaviours.In 2018, data collection is going to become an even higher priority. With consumers increasingly talking to smart speakers throughout their day, and relying on unlimited digital devices for most of their daily tasks, companies will soon have access to—and start using—practically amounts of personal data. This has many implications, including reduced privacy, more personalized ads, and possibly more positive outcomes, such as better predictive algorithms in healthcare. To add to the problem, a lot of data has a lifespan. At some point in time, these data becomes outdated and its no longer longer relevant.But often it is held onto anyway in the mistaken belief that some day it might come in useful. It is important to remember also that collecting and storing data costs money - data requires storage, electricity to power it and, if the information is sensitive (including customer records) attention to be spent on security and data compliance. Of course, the problem becomes even bigger when we take into account the predicted growth in the data companies will produce: A recent article on Forbes predict a 4,300 percent increase in annual data production by 2020. 

3)Blockchain will increasingly become mainstream: One of the biggest technological trends in 2018 would be the rise and acceptance of blockchain.The rise of blockchain technology wont be just limited to cryptocurrency in 2018.Cryptocurrency will move into larger areas of governance.We have seen some amazing things in the cryptocurrency market in 2017 including the rise of the ICO where companies like Tezos raised almost 250 million, the "big 3" (Bitcoin, Litecoin, & Ethereum) have gained in the 1000%'s, and a massive explosion of interest in both the traditional financial markets as well as the consumer markets here in the in 2017. 

4)Electric cars: Self driving cars are still in the labs.So forget about them and start to embrace electric cars.In 2018 we are likely to see new electric cars promising ranges of 200 miles or more.In 2018 the Tesla Model 3 and the second generation of Nissan are set for release.Long term investment on petrol cars will also start declining. 

5)Smart Soundbars. Riding high on  the back of voice controlled speakers multi room audio looks all set to grow.While there  is an explosion in the hardware market , we are witnessing significant growth in premium multi room systems and smart soundbars in particular.Technavio’s market research predicts the global soundbar market to grow steadily at a CAGR of above 16% by 2021. One of the major factors driving growth in this market is the increasing number of smart homes.Many homes in developed nations such as the US and UK are being remodeled to smart homes.A smart home consists of media and entertainment gadgets, consumer electronic devices, and other smart electronics that can interact with each other through a home network.2018 is also likely to see more of Dolby Atmos and high resolution audio 




January 6, 2018

ripple and ethereum adds to the upheaval in the alt coin world


The virtual currency boom has got so heated that it is throwing some of the richest and most powerful people into disarray.At one point last week one of the founders of virtual currency who is also among the largest owners of Ripple tokens was worth more than $59billion.

Ethereum and Ripple two Bitcoin rivals jostled for attention during the  early days of 2018 cryptocurrency war   as it marked two records in the alt coin world: Ethereum's per-coin value broke $US1000 ($1276) and the rising value of Ripple supposedly boosted its co-founder Chris Larsen to an estimated net worth of $US59.9 ($76) billion.Riding in the digital currency's surge in the last few weeks, the co-founder and executive chairman of Ripple is now one of the five richest people in America. 

 Chris Larsen, co-founder and executive chairman of Ripple, has 5.19 billion of the company's digital coin XRP and a 17 percent stake in the company, according to Forbes, citing sources at Ripple. With XRP hitting a high of $3.84 on Thursday, Larsen's holdings are worth about $59.9 billion. That puts the former Ripple CEO just ahead of Larry Ellison, who ranked fifth on Forbes 400 list with a worth of $58.4 billion. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg ranks fourth, with a worth of $74.4 billion. 

Despite a very real speculation bubble around cryptocurrency, these financial gains are mostly on paper and the two coins couldn't be more different.

While Ethereum bills itself as a blockchain app platform where transactions are used to pay for decentralised computing power,Ripple is the world's only enterprise blockchain solution for global payments. Ripple's core proposal is to facilitate fast, cheap transactions, mainly between banks, through a separate but related entity called Ripple Connect. The Ripple coin (XRP) exists independently in the hopes that banks will someday use it via Ripple Connect.

Ripple is a kind of  real-time gross settlement system (RTGS), currency exchange and remittance network by Ripple. Also called the Ripple Transaction Protocol (RTXP) or Ripple protocol it is built upon a distributed open source Internet protocol, consensus ledger and native cryptocurrency called XRP (ripples)

Ripple connects banks, payment providers, digital asset exchanges and corporates via RippleNet to provide one frictionless experience to send money globally.Released in 2012, Ripple purports to enable "secure, instantly and nearly free global financial transactions of any size with no chargebacks." It supports tokens representing fiat currency, cryptocurrency, commodity or any other unit of value such as frequent flier miles or mobile minutes.

Used by companies such as UniCredit, UBS and Santander, Ripple has been increasingly adopted by banks and payment networks as settlement infrastructure technology, with American Banker explaining that "from banks' perspective, distributed ledgers like the Ripple system have a number of advantages over cryptocurrencies like bitcoin," including price and security. 

On 1 Jan 2018, the market capitalisation of XRP was 87 billion USD, making it the second largest cryptocurrency by market cap Thanks to one digital currency's surge in the last few weeks, the co-founder and executive chairman of Ripple is now one of the five richest people in America.

Meanwhile according to CoinMarketCap, Ethereum currently has a market capitalisation of about $96 billion (£70.7bn).Unlike Bitcoin, Ethereum allows developers to build applications on its network. The majority of initial coin offerings and other trading games are based on Ethereum. Ethereum's particular blockchain technology means that the currency is more naturally resilient to cyberattacks.

The explosion in Ripple's valuation over the last few months is the starkest illustration yet of the mania that has spilled over into the broader universe of virtual currencies.These coins with names such  as Cardona, Stellar and Iota are generally new twists on Bitcoin Technology which uses a decentralised network of volunteer computers to keep a record, known as blockchain, of all technologies.

Cryptocurrency founders can often hold large amounts of the digital coins they create.The anonymous bitcoin founder known as "Satoshi Nakamoto" has 980,000 bitcoins, or about 4.7 percent of all bitcoins that will ever exist, based on widely accepted analysis by Sergio Demian Lerner. 

However Mr Chris Larsen's ballooning net worth and the value of Ripple tokens mostly drew comments about the irrationality of the virtual currency markets which appear to be driven largely these days by the feat of missing out (FOMO)




twins who sued zuckerberg becomes 1st bitcoin billionaires


 
The twin brothers who sued Mark Zuckerberg claiming he stole the idea for Facebook are worth more than $1bn after capitalising on the astonishing rise in Bitcoin. An $11m (£8m) bet on Bitcoin made by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss over four years ago has multiplied by almost 10,000% after Bitcoin reached a new record breaking high in december 2017.This is believed to be the first billion-dollar return made by a cryptocurrency investor, a landmark moment for the twins who sued Mark Zuckerberg and claimed that Facebook's idea was originally theirs.

In 2009, the Winklevoss twins received a settlement from Facebook valued at more than $65 million.According to the Telegraph, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss bought 1 percent of all currently mined bitcoin for a price of $11 million in 2013 with the lawsuit money received from Facebook. Since then, the $11 million crypto-bet has multiplied by almost 10,000 percent, making the twins the first bitcoin billionaires.

Seven years ago, the value of a single bitcoin was worth a quarter-of-a-cent. Today, that single bitcoin is worth upwards of $2,200.The twins used part of their settlement money to invest heavily in bitcoin.Bitcoin has grown exponentially since then: According to Fortune when the Winklevosses first invested, the cryptocurrency was trading at $120 per coin, a far jump from the more than $11,000 it has reached today. That's an increase of over 9,000 percent. 

In October 2015, the brothers launched Gemini, a bitcoin exchange described by the Financial Times as “one of the first regulated and licensed digital currency exchanges in the developed world. 

Interestingly the first bitcoin transaction was made by a software programmer on “Bitcoin Talk” known as Lazlo Hanyecz who offered to 10,000 bitcoins for a couple of pizzas. For the first three days, no one took him on his offer with Hanyecz writing: “So nobody wants to buy me pizza? Is the bitcoin amount I’m offering too low?” A user eventually paid about $25 for two pizzas. In today’s bitcoins, those pizzas would have cost cost Hanyecz $22 million.




January 5, 2018

travis kalanick to sell 29% of his uber stake, worth $1.4billion


 
Former Uber cofounder Travis Kalanick  is all set to sell around 29% of his Uber stake to Softbank in the process making him richer $1.4billion according to Bloomberg post today. The former Uber Cofounder remains one of the wealthiest people in the world on paper.However  post his stake sale, Travis Kalanick would become an actual billionaire for the first time.

Interestingly during a Vanity Fair’s 2016 New Establishment Summit he boasted and touted the fact that he had “never sold a single Uber share which was an expression, of his own faith in the company’s future.


Reports indicate that the former Poster boy  and cofounder of Uber Travis Kalanick had reportedly offered to offload even more of his share which was as much as 50 percent, the most a board member was allowed to sell in the transaction with SoftBank and its consortium of investors, who have agreed to buy equity in the company at a lower $48 billion valuation. But that figure was reportedly scaled back due to the large volume of investors attempting to sell

The SoftBank deal, which is expected to close later in January, will limit Kalanick’s remaining influence at Uber via a number of corporate governance reforms, though he’ll remain an Uber board member.

Kalanick was pressured to resign last year after the company became mired in legal woes and government investigations into the way it conducts how it does business.

Uber has come under increasing criticism in the last 2 years and has been rocked by a steady stream of  workplace and sexual harassment including gender discrimination scandals and negative publicity in recent years, including revelations of questionable spy programs, a high-stakes technology lawsuit, and embarrassing leaks about executive conduct including digging up dirt on journalists and spreading personal information of a female reporter who was critical of the company.Uber was forced to pay $20m to settle allegations that the company duped people into driving with false promises about earnings.

The Federal Trade Commission claimed that most Uber drivers earned far less than the rates Uber published online in 18 major cities in the US. 

More PR disasters followed led by a A #DeleteUber campaign which went viral after the company lifted surge pricing during a taxi protest at a New York airport against Donald Trump’s travel ban. A total of roughly 500,000 users reportedly deleted accounts after the scandal erupted.

Uber also faced lawsuits from Waymo, the self-driving car company owned by Google’s parent Alphabet which accused Uber of “calculated theft” of its technology. The suit, was a fatal setback for Uber’s autonomous vehicle ambitions, alleged that a former Waymo employee, Anthony Levandowski, stole trade secrets for Uber which later fired the engineer.


Travis  also clashed with Benchmark, one of the company’s earliest and biggest investors, which is also selling part of its stake