Disney Takes Its Content Home, GrubHub Buys Eat24, and US Military Shoots Down Drones

The big news this week is Google’s diversity dirty laundry being let out to dry, but in the spirit of keeping things light, we talk about Disney pushing its own content and more with Mark Starling on First News 570. You can listen in using the iHeart Radio player.

THE MOUSE HOUSE STUNS ALL AND SAVES ITS BEST STUFF FOR ITSELF
I’m not quite sure how I feel about this deal, but we all know that content is King. Disney will stop delivering NEW content for Netflix’s streaming service in 2019. It’s not completely a deal killer for Netflix, they’ll continue having the license of streaming Disney’s other content including the most recent Star Wars films. This news comes after Disney has announced investing $1.8 billion with a ‘B’ in the streaming service company BAMtech. Netflix has made no secret about its ambition of becoming a major creative content developer as well as producer. And Disney currently has streaming rights to Major League baseball, and arguably owns the world’s most valuable content. It’s going to be a tough call because the cable companies can do what they do because the cable subscription, venture model works. There’s going to come an inflection point in which consumers will be sick of being nickled and dimed for every streaming service they want to watch. But in turn, moves like this get rid of the gatekeepers and democratizes content delivery.
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US MILITARY LETS SOLDIERS TAKE AIM: AT DRONES
The US military has given soldiers license to shoot down consumer drones that fly within 400ft of military bases. This comes after it became illegal to fly drones near bases this Spring. The law and policy were prompted by the military ordering its troops to stop flying drones made by popular manufacturer, DJI. DJI is a Chinese manufacturer and military is concerned that DJI drones may participate in cyber attacks. Drone warfare is quickly becoming a winning tactic, and the military is preparing itself. DJI is the best selling drone in America. If I could get on my high horse, maybe it wouldn’t be that bad if we made more high tech stuff in the US.
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GRUBHUB BUYS EAT24 DELIVERY SERVICE FOR BIG BUCKS
It must be a sign of the times when food delivery services are being bought and sold at high valuations. The lazy man’s food delivery service, GrubHub has positioned itself to buy Yelp’s Eat24 for $288 million. GrubHub is an app platform that home delivers food from 55,000 restaurants nationwide to their local patrons. The purchase gives GrubHub access to another 40,000 restaurants and hungry people who are too pooped after a day of hard work to pick up their take out on the way home. I work in technology, and I’m a businessman, but it still boggles me how some simplistic businesses are worth hundreds of millions.
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Kapersky Accused of Aiding FSB, PhotoBucket Reminds Us Hosting Costs, and Shut Downs

We’re back on this week with Mark Starling and the First News 570 crew. A lot has happened in the past week including a report on much of the world’s favorite anti-virus scanner. Listen in on our palaver using the iHeartMedia player.

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IN A CLUTCHES PEARLS MOMENT, US GOVERNMENT ACCESS KAPERSKY OF COLLUDING WITH SPIES
If there’s anyone you should trust in the world, it’s the guy who sells you anti-virus software. Bloomberg has reported that Russian, that’s right, Russian with an ‘R’, anti-virus software company, Kapersky Labs had developed ‘tools’ for Russia’s intelligence agency. And in a prompt move, the US General Services Administration removed Kapersky from its approved list of anti-virus tools. Bloomberg reports that it has seen emails between KL CEO, Eugene Kapersky and his staff and the Russian FSB. Kapersky is obviously running defense stating that the emails were misinterpreted and that is has never aided any inteligence agency in spying. Yeah, right.
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THE INTERNET’S NOT FREE, IT’S A BUCK ‘O FIVE
After JavaScript packages serving ads, images and video make up the second largest content group websites deliver to their users. Last month, one of the Internet’s earliest content host providers ended the free lunch, and attempted to extort users of its service to the tune of $400. Photobucket is a third party host of images and video helping site creators save on storage and bandwidth costs. For 14 years, PB hosted images at no charge, and then in a, no-one-really-reads-terms-of-service moment, changed their policies and began charging for the service. Thousands of site creators rely on the service (I don’t) and right now, the only thing users are seeing is a not so nice bill asking their site owners to pay up. It is true, consumers need to understand that pushing these precious bits and bytes comes at a cost, but PhotoBucket has no chill and could have notified its users in a better and more in your face way.
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IN THE LAND OF INGENUITY, STARTUPS ARE DYING WHILE BIG CITIES BOOM
Some serious people stateside have been keeping their eye on America’s startup culture and we are witnessing a disturbing trend. Business closures are outpacing business creation in the United States. The slide has been going on for more than two decades, but the Great Recession had kicked the slide into higher gear as uncertainty, a wageless rebound, globalization, and a crack down immigration are causing fewer businesses to be started nationwide. The strange thing though, is that America’s big cities (I live in a big but small one) are actually benefiting and outpacing business creation more than the rest of the country combined. I don’t want to pile on here, but I am. I think many of our problems are political right now, and if we don’t get our act together we could see this slide continue.
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FACEBOOK SHUTS DOWN LEGAL POT SHOPS
Social media has become one of the most frequently used marketing tools of the 21st century. Unfortunately, not all businesses can make the qualification. Facebook has shutdown the business pages for companies selling marijuana in Alaska. Alaska is one of the states citizens can legally purchase marijuana. The National Cannabis Industry Association is asking Facebook to set clearly guidelines for businesses wanting to setup a Facebook page. Right now, FB says it won’t allow any business to use its platform to sell marijuana legally or not, in the US or the World. The weed market is having a tough time. No banks want to process their electronic sales, the moral majority wants to shut them down, and now social media won’t let them build communities.
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Amazon to Conquer Apparel, AI Sartorialist, and the Fall of the iPhone

Amazon can’t be stopped. If they aren’t too busy breaking supply chain records, they are intruding on other business frontiers. Amazon dominates this week’s stories with Mark Starling. Listen in to First News 570.

SEEING DOLLARS IN DESIGN, AMAZON OFFERS CUSTOM CLOTHING SERVICE
I love Amazon, and I hate Amazon. Amazon has made it super simple to buy things, but they just can’t help themselves. Amazon is on pace to become our future’s umbrella corporation because there is nothing they can’t innovate. Coming soon to an Interweb near you is Amazon 5-day custom apparel. That’s right. Using Amazon’s patented fabric printing and cutting machines you can measure yourself, upload your 36-24-36, and get custom made clothing in 5 days. I’ve been ordering online custom shirts for a while now, and if Amazon can get the price below $30 they have another hit. This new custom service follows Amazon’s custom printing and personalization services. There’s no territory left uncharted if there’s dollars on the horizon.
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FEELING ENTREPRENEURIAL ITCH, BRITISH FAMILY SELLS ALL TO LAUNCH SOCIAL SPORTS NETWORK
It’s Small Business Week here in the US, and my entrepreneurial itch couldn’t help but feel a little tingle when I read about the Hughes family. The Manchester, England family has sold the house, the car, the cat, quit school, and everything to focus their efforts on building the “ultimate sports social network”. GameDay Xtra is a new network aimed at rabid sports fans that will host pages, live streams, and more of every sports team in the world. They intend to build the ultimate portal showcasing your daughter’s Quikstix Gamma Lacrosse league to the Green Bay Packers. The family has five phases of the platform including live streamed games. Right now, they have a few thousands members after launch and intend to scale once they’ve reached a million. I wish them good luck.
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HUMANS WHO CAN’T DRESS THEMSELVES USE AI TO CHOOSE HAUTE COUTURE
I’ve said numerous times, and I quote, “humans aren’t mature enough to have technology”, end-quote. In more Amazon news, and just in time to test out their new custom apparel patent, Amazon is giving Alexa more smarts with the Echo Look. Echo users can pair their device with a stationary camera and have Alexa critique what they are wearing and give them style pointers. With the simple phrase, “Alexa take a picture”, you too can be chastised by an Anna Wintour wannabe. Is there nothing we won’t surrender to AI, are humans really that lazy? Hey, those brown shoes don’t match!
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WILL CLUTCHES PEARLS: IPHONE SALES TAKE HIT FOR SECOND STRAIGHT QUARTER
Are we seeing the end of a titan, or really just a signal of a saturated market. Before you get your panties in a bunch, Apple sold 50.76 million iPhones last quarter, down from 51.19 million the previous quarter. Sales, still greater than most companies on the planet and definitely more than Studio Codeworks. With everyone carrying a smartphone and my mother sending me ridiculous iMessage stickers, it was bound to happen that the world’s most recognizable smartphone company sees weakening sales. Companies are focused on delivering new technology using augmented reality and AI which may be the new frontiers.
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CIA Leaked, AirBus Pops Up, and Drones Influenced by Nuclear Fallout

Honestly, I don’t really know what WikiLeaks’ deal is. One thing’s for sure, they aren’t an ally or a friend to the common good. Your intrepid gadget geek gave his insight on the CIA leak, AirBus’ new concept car, and drone policy on First News 570 with Mark Starling.

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NOT CONTENT TO LEAK EMBARASSING DETAILS ON INDIVIDUALS, WIKILEAKS, LEAKS CIA HACKER TOOLS
This week, WikiLeaks has leaked a treasure trove of details illustrating details of how the CIA subverts
technology equipment. The details include the tools and malware the intelligence agency uses to defeat
operating systems spanning MacOSX, Windows, Android, iOS, and even some televisions. The information
includes other gadgets including IoT devices and cars. In addition to the tools, new details shed light on
the means and philosophy of the CIA including how the hack within the bounds of their charter and their
principals of reuse, listing the tools they stole and derived from Russia and other countries.
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AMAZON DECIDES TO HAND OVER ALEXA VOICE DATA IN ARKANSAS MURDER CASE
Amazon is handing prosecutors cloud-stored data from its Alexa Voice Service that the Arkansas authorities say might be used as evidence in a murder prosecution. The Seattle-based company originally had balked at a warrant demanding the recorded voice and transcription data from an Amazon Echo near a murder scene. The company claimed that the data, and the responses from the voice assistant itself, were protected by the First Amendment. What’s more, Amazon said that the Arkansas authorities had not demonstrated a “compelling need” for the data.
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A New Poker Beating AI, Super Bowl VR, Pac-Man’s Dad Dies, and 6 Strikes is Out

It’s been wild and rocky these past 13 days. It’s a shame that Trump is so heavily dominating headlines. He’s touched politics, economics, social science, and even my beloved technology. I promise some non-Trump stories this week, leading off with our robot overlords beating the best human players in Texas Hold’em.

LIBRATUS BEATS HUMANS WHO DON’T KNOW WHEN TO HOLD’EM OR WHEN TO FOLD’EM
Humans are having a tough time. Right now they’re living in fear of their political leaders, and the AI and robotic beings that are picking off their jobs. Two nerds at Carnegie Mellon, professor Tuomas Sandholm and grad student Noam Brown, designed an AI named Libratus, that has pulled out every bluff, feint, and trick beyond cheating against four top Texas Hold’em poker players. The feat is notable because excelling at Texas Hold’em requires more than probability theory. It requires bluffs, reading other players, and knowing how much to bet and when. The goal of Hold’em is to win the most money, not each hand. It requires long tail planning, probability theory, and luck. There’s nothing we can’t win using our minds now. I’m waiting for the robots vs. humans head-to-head football game.
https://www.wired.com/2017/01/mystery-ai-just-crushed-best-human-players-poker/

SIX STRIKE POLICY IS NOW ‘OUT’ IN US
The Copyright Alert System had been used to notify Internet subscribers after they have downloaded copywitten content illegal. The proliferation of Napster and BitTorrent sites ecouragaed the RIAA and MPAA to devise a system in which ISPs would notify users when they illegally downloaded content. Since 2013, millions of alerts were sent out to users who may have downloaded media illegally, with 1.3 million going out in the first 10 months of use. Fast forward to today, and CaS is being disbanded. There’s debate on whether or not the system was effective. The Ependables 3 was downloaded over 60 million times. Just because the CaS is going away doesn’t mean it’s time to sail over to thePirateBay and fire up your favorite bit torrent client. Downloading pirated content is a federal crime and you’ll need to pay fines and suffer jail time.
http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-38808719

IN A BID TO STORE EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU FACEBOOK LAUNCHES NEW PASSWORD RECOVERY SERVICE FOR THIRD PARTY SITES
No, you’re not going to give Facebook your passwords to all of the other sites you use, but with a little help from your favorite websites, Facebook can help you recover forgotten passwords by sharing a specially generated token, scrambled data, between the third party site and Facebook. The service is designed to provide a more secure mechanism for recovering a password than the industry standard “ask 3 questions and enter a new password” scheme most places use. The system sounds great, but there’s one hitch. You have to remember your Facebook password to make it work! :) Right now, the service only works with GitHub but Facebook plans to make it available to other third party sites.
https://arstechnica.com/security/2017/01/forgotten-passwords-are-bane-of-the-internet-facebook-wants-to-fix-that/

SUPERBOWL LI BRINGS BACK BUD-BOWL NOVELTY WITH VR THIS WEEKEND
SuperBowl LI, 51 for those who didn’t pass second grade, is this weekend. Like many I get kicks out of the zany commercials played during the big game. Some of my favorite commercials are beer commercials and if you’re a product of the 80’s like I am you may have a fondness for the Bud Bowl, the parodied bowl of Bud commercials that air through out the night. Many companies have tried novel marketing tricks during the Game, like the year the Bud Bowl was televised in 3D. This year, Fox Sports and LiveLike are fooling around with last Christmas’ gadget trend, virtual reality. This year, you can enter a VR suite and watch up to 20 clips of the game using the Fox Sports VR app. This could be an interesting application of the technology but it will not be a live virtual reality stream of the big game. We’ll need to wait and see what the experience is like. I’m hoping it’ll be a great one.
http://www.theverge.com/2017/1/31/14451246/fox-sports-vr-livelike-super-bowl-highlights

THE FATHER OF PAC-MAN AND FOUNDER OF NAMCO DIES AT 91
Masaya Nakamura, who founded the Nakamura Amusement Machine Manufacturing Company, the legendary video game company, NAMCO, has died. Nakamura is known as the father of programmer, Toru Iwatani’s famous game, Pac-Man. Nakamura was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, one of Japan’s highest honors in 2007.
http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-38799306

Amazon Cracks Down on Fake Reviews, NY Outlaws Ticket Bots, and Beme Me Up Scotty

I hope all of you had a Happy and Stuffed Thanksgiving!

Of course Amazon had a great weekend, Amazon released the 3DS ahead of schedule pissing off many of the deal hunting faithful. We talk Amazon, Beme, and ticket bots during this week’s Five Minute Flyby with Mark Starling on First News 570.

AMAZON CRACKS DOWN ON FAKE REVIEWS
For many, Amazon reviews are a favorite pastime. Corn cob holders, BiC pens, and ‘Make America Great Again’ Christmas ornaments are some of the wittiest and snarky reviews you can read. Previously, Amazon would let anyone write a review for a product, regardless if they purchased the item or not. In a bid to curb fraudulent reviews, Amazon, is now capping reviews of its listing to 5 non-Amazon verified reviews. They are making the move to reduce the black market trade of sellers purchasing reviews of its products from fake buyers. The move won’t affect books though…
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NEW YORK STOPS TICKET BOTS FROM BUYING HAMILTON TIX
It’s becoming more and more expensive to see a show or buy tickets to a concert. Thanks to the ever growing presence of bots, it has become increasingly harder to buy initial release tickets and many consumers resort to foraging for tickets on reseller websites. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill criminalizing the use of ticket bots to purchase tickets only to turn around resell them. People caught running a ticket bot will be subject to fines, and anyone knowingly reselling tickets that were purchased with one may be fined and receive jail time as well. Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel has been one of the members of the entertainment community criticizing the use of bots and their influence on the rise of ticket prices.
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ATT LAUNCHES DIRECTV NOW STREAMING SERVICE: TODAY
DirectTV Now is a new, for-pay streaming service giving cord-cutters and non-satellite users access to television programming over their existing Internet connection. DirectTV Now consumers can pay $35/month for 60 channels and $70 per month for over 120 channels. Consumers can add on premium services like HBO and Cinemax for $5 more per month. ATT acquired DirectTV for 48.5 billion dollars last year making them the largest US, pay-for-TV operator, and is in pursuit of purchasing Time Warner for 85 billion dollars. What’s strange is that: by the time you pay your home cable Internet bill, buy DirectTV now, and then pay for HBO, you may as well have paid for cable or satellite TV!
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CNN ACQUIRES YOUTUBE STAR’S SOCIAL MEDIA APP TO MAKE MILLENIAL PLAY
Honestly, I don’t know why marketers covet millennials so much. They still live at home, don’t make a lot of money, and are fickle. Well, CNN, hoping to attract a more millennial news audience has purchased Beme, a social media app which allows people to share video in 4-second bursts. Beme claims to be a more authentic social media experience and CNN hopes Casey Neistat and his company can unlock the code to bring more news and media to a younger audience.
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Barclays Tests NFC ATMs, ATT Goes Legally Blonde, and Best Apps to Get Black Friday

US JUST GOT CHIP AND PIN, UK BANK BARCLAYS TESTS SMARTPHONE ATM WITHDRAWALS
Barclays Bank is testing a new app/smartphone combination that will allow customers to withdraw their money using their Android device. The app works by using NFC, or near field communication, to communicate with the ATM machine and execute a transaction. Barclays believes this is more secure than sliding in your ATM card and entering a PIN number because modern smartphones can be secured using biometric data such as your thumbprint or retina. With the proliferation of credit card skimmers, this new combination is being hailed as more secure. There is a caveat however. Android devices are known to have viruses and other malware. A virus could be running on your phone and intercept data between the app and ATM machine, but what else is new. This isn’t the first innovation in smartphone withdrawals. The Royal Bank of Scotland piloted a system where smartphone users would receive a text messaging with a throw-away PIN that could be used to withdraw cash.
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ATT Continues Media Push by Partnering with Legally Blond Actress, Reese Witherspoon
AT&T continues to pursue an aggressive media strategy. Otter Media is entering into a joint venture with ATT and Reese Witherspoon’s production company Hello Sunshine to create original content made for women by women. Women only make up 28 percent of spoken roles in movies and ATT believes this strategy can be a powerful one for its new media assets. They’ll be able to push content across DirectTV and Time Warner while owning it and controlling its release.
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* More of an analysis of Black Friday deals we can talk about other sites such as Groupon and others, in addition Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.
WE CAN ALL GIVE THANKS FOR THE DEALS TO BE HAD ON BLACK FRIDAY AVOID THE CROWDS AND USE THESE APPS
In the early morning of Black Friday 2004, my wife and I went to Best Buy and froze our tails off in search of a supreme deal at that time. A big screen, flat panel TV for the low, low price of $200. We woke up from the abyss of turkey induced sleep to arrive at 4am, only to find that there was a line wrapping around the parking lot. We had a single mission. The TV, and so we thought, “all of these people can’t be here for this deal”, so we soldiered on. At 6 am the doors opened and we fought through the throngs of deal seekers wreaking havoc upon the store as we went straight for electronics. To our dismay, Best Buy only stocked 5 TVs for the deal. We vowed, never again will we fall prey to onsite Black Friday deals. We will get our deals online. USA Today has listed 4 apps to help you avoid the crowds and get deals online.
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SlickDeals, eBates, TheBlackFriday.com, Groupon, and others are honorable mentions.

Bug Bounty Hunter Hacks 911, Solar Shingles, the Great Firewall and More

TEENAGE HACKER PLANNING TO COLLECT BUG BOUNTY CAUSES 911 ATTACK INSTEAD
Meetkumar Hiteshbhai Desai of Maricopa, Arizona tweeted a link to a JavaScript program that would cause an iOS user’s phone to dial 911. He accidentally posted this link instead of a link to a bug he found in the iPhone’s operating system. Twitter users clicked his 911 link 2,000 times which had become a threat to Arizona’s emergency call services infrastructure. Desai planned to collect on a bug bounty by ransoming the bug report to Apple for money. The Maricopa Sheriff’s department arrested Desai. Desai thought he would release a benign app that caused user’s phones to auto-dial instead, he thought it would be funny.
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DRM’d Ink Jet Cartridges, Roboats, 2nd Class Digital Citizens, and the Binary Thief on First News 570

All news doesn’t have to be depressing. We talk about second class digital citzenry, the binary thief, and HP using DRM on aftermarket ink jet cartridges this week on First News 570 with Mark Starling.

MOBILE NEWS COULD LEAD TO A SECOND CLASS OF DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP
This is more of a cerebral piece, but research from Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy has found that consumers of mobile news are less engaged and less knowledgeable about current events due to the form factor of small screens and the reading style of attempting consume more content with less screen space. The study used eye-tracking software to determine how mobile news consumers view content on small screens and found that users are less engaged with the content and are less likely to continue reading using follow on links. It can be a concern, because most Internet use is being performed on small screens and I’m pretty sure we’ve all had experiences with friends who have reported “news” by scanning the headlines.
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BINARY THIEF ON THE LOOSE IN PHILADELPHIA
This probably fits in zany news. Someone, or someones, are stealing house numbers from residences in Philadelphia. The kicker here is that the thieves are only stealing 1s and 0s. Local authorities have dubbed the would-be house hacker, the Binary Thief.
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HP PRINTERS REJECT CHIPPED AFTERMARKET INK CARTRIDGES
We all know that printer manufacturers make their real money off of ink and toner cartridges. In the latest battle for profits, HP has released a firmware update for its ink jet printers that results in the printers rejecting cartridges from cheaper aftermarket brands. The new firmware update searches for HP’s custom security chip in the cartridge and will refuse to print if it doesn’t exist. Dutch ink cartridge manufacturer, 123inkt said it had received more than 1,000 complaints in a single day because users’ printers had stopped printing. If you own an HP printer and buy aftermarket cartridges do not update your printer’s firmware and disable Windows from automatically applying the update.
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GO PRO RELEASES PORTABLE DRONE THAT CAN FOLD INTO A BACKPACK SIZE
GoPro, the US-based sport camera manufacturer has struggled recently, losing more than 280 million dollars in the last three quarters. on September 19th, the company announced a new product that’s a departure for the company, the Karma drone. Karma’s primary innovation is its foldable arms and wings which shrinks the aircraft down into a tightly portable package that’s easy to transport. The drone market is a hot one, and GoPro hopes to successfully make a dent in DJI’s sales. The Chinese made, DJI series of drones are the world’s most popular drones, but the Karma’s automatic collision avoidance technology, compact size, and GoPro’s sport camera expertise can make it a winner.
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AMSTERDAM TO TEST ROBOATS: SELF-DRIVING FLEETS OF BOATS IN CANALS
Amsterdam is a great city, and there are many ways to get around. It’s very easy to walk around most of the city starting from Centrum, you could borrow one of the many bikes around town, or you could catch an Uber. But very soon, you could hire a roboat. Just as we are beginning to get used to self-driving Ubers, MIT and researches from the Netherlands’ Advanced Metropolitan Solutions are piloting a project while will see Amsterdam’s canals flooded with so-called roboats, driverless boats designed to ferry people around town by floating along the city’s canal network.
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theSync LIVE!: Tooling Your Enterprise for 2015

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Last week’s Episode of theSync LIVE! kicked off National Entrepreneurship Week.

On the air, I had Diane Devaney of Devaney and Associates, Somiah Lattimore of Straight Up Creative, Damon Hunt of Studio Codeworks, and Azi Rosenblum of REMSource.

We covered tools and tip you can use to improve this year’s digital marketing, some new products you can use to manage your projects more effectively, we also shared some products you can use to keep your books accurate for DCAA compliance. And finally, this is the year you should alleviate some of the burden by hiring a virtual assistant.

If you missed it, you can subscribe to theSync on your iPhone or download the app from the Google Play Store.