Dan Tudor

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iPhone vs AndroidMonday, February 20th, 2017

cip_pic_360Chelsea Cipriani, Front Rush

It could be a question on a dating site – that’s how important the answer is to some.  Are Android users compatible with iPhone users?  What does it all mean??  Joking aside, the differences in devices and the debates probably come up in discussion for each of us about once a week…maybe even more often between your coworkers, your friends, and your family.  

It is also important among recruits.  While I was on campus last month a coach mentioned to me that his recruits (the iPhone users) did not like interacting through text with Android users because texts come through as green and not blue.  He was referring to iMessage.  iMessage works with iPhone and can operate while on wifi… it also shows up as blue on the iPhone.  An iPhone user can actually know if you are using an Android vs. and iPhone and to some it is significant.  Also, did you know some emojis are not compatible from iPhone to Android / Android to iPhone?  While small, these details matter a LOT to the younger generation.  

For some of us, the thought of using a brand / device other than the one we are familiar with can seem almost foreign.  I know as a very dedicated Apple user, when my grandmother (an Android user) comes to me for advice, I end up doing lots of googling to help her out with the functionality.  I had to google something as simple as turning on the flashlight.  I have even resulted to opening up the user manual… yes they still exist!  To me, Androids are super confusing and I just can not seem to grasp it.  The same thing rings true I’m sure for some Android and PC users when operating an Apple product… familiarity is key.

This got me thinking, I wanted to poll the Front Rush staff to see what they prefer in terms of Apple vs. Android, Mac vs. PC and to hear more in depth reasons behind why they choose that brand or device.  Whether it is out of necessity or preference, I was definitely interested in learning more.  So I did, and I have shared the findings with you below.  While not everyone on staff participated, this is a good representation of the group.  This is in no way meant to sway you one way or the other, but to give you some insight into what is more commonly used by our Front Rush staff… and why.

What Mobile Device do you use?

what mobile device do you use (1)

iPhone: 64.28%

Android: 35.71%

What iPhone users had to say:

  1. “Because it’s the simplest and most convenient phone to use.  Everyone else used an iPhone, so, naturally I had to get one too.”
  2. “iMessage and very easy to use.”
  3. “I use more apple products than others so it just makes more sense for me to have devices that can communicate with one another more seamlessly. I also tend to prefer the design ascetics of apple products.”

What Android users had to say:

  1. “I used to be a dedicated iPhone user, but I switched about four years ago. I will never go back. iPhones had the following limitations that really limited me: – No memory expansion (my Android phone has a microSD card for a lot more storage w/out a huge sticker price) – Short battery life (my Android phone lasts longer, and I can swap my battery) – More choices (going Android opens my options up to a lot more choices in phones)”
  2. “Open ecosystem, more free apps on play store, the voice assistant understands accents of non native english speakers, “Google now” which works better with Android”
  3. “Easy to use. Very customizable. EASY to customize. Nice design. Not many issues (Loved my Galaxy S4.. currently use Galaxy S5) Many free apps.”

What Type of Computer do you use for work?

computer for work (2)

 

Mac: 71.43%

PC: 28.57%

Top reasons for choosing Mac:

  1. “It works much nicer with my design software, it has an excellent battery life, and the overall life of the device is simply better than a lot of PC products.”
  2. “I am a developer/Engineer and requires to be on a unix based system, so that rules out Windows. Out the choices I have, mac is most usable machine and It is easy on eyes too.”
  3. “Macs were once known to be better for design and graphic work /// since then the bridge between the two has shortened but I have come to learn that Macs are just more reliable and have less problems in their life span /// also a lot easier to use interface”

Top reasons for choosing PC:

  1. “Have always used PCs.. familiarity.. not many issues.. customizable.. can just go on Amazon and buy another battery if I need to. Love my HP Probook.”
  2. “PC > Mac I need the programs a PC has versus what a Mac has”
  3. “Because my needs as a finance manager do not justify a Mac.”

What type of computer do you use for leisure?

leisure (3)

Mac: 71.43%

PC: 28.57%

Mac users said:

  1. “Fast and great for video editing”
  2. “It is pretty. UI/UX is better than windows. Does not crash often, not infected by malware/virus that often.”
  3. “I do a lot of photo development in Lightroom, and the interface is better.”

PC users said:

  1. “Gaming”
  2. “Cheaper”
  3. “Have always used PCs”

When asked, “What do you feel your device / service provides over the other (example – why apple vs. non apple) specific apps / features / etc

Mac users tend to be attracted to the reliability, speed, and seamless transfer between devices.  The PC users mention that they are cost friendly, they appreciate the ability to customize, and enjoy gaming on their PCs which is not always compatible with Mac.

The next question asked was, “ Are you strictly one brand?”  

The answers were mostly no, but for those who were a yes, here are a few examples:

“Only Apple products for personal use and only PC for work.”

“Yes, but it’s because they have not let me down.” – Apple

“Yep, 98% apple I’d say.” – Apple

Most of the responses looked something like this:

“I am not strictly loyal to a brand but more cost value and features provided.”

Or, “Nope. “Horses for courses”.ie, whatever works for my specific use case.”

For fun, I asked around for other devices that our awesome staff members use whether working or relaxing.  

Below are the devices and some links to learn more about them!

Fitbit – “Fitbit motivates you to reach your health and fitness goals by tracking your activity,  exercise, sleep, weight and more.”

Tile – “Tile is a tiny Bluetooth tracker and easy-to-use app that helps you find everyday items in    seconds.”

Kindle – “Kindle E-readers designed as dedicated eBook readers. Indulge your love of reading without interruptions like email alerts and push notifications. They can hold thousands of books to keep you entertained for hours.”

Amazon Fire Stick – “Fire TV Stick connects to your TV’s HDMI port. It’s an easy way to enjoy over 4,000 channels, apps, and games including access to over 250,000 TV episodes and movies on Netflix, Amazon Video, HBO NOW, Hulu, and more.”

Chromecast – “Simply use your mobile device and the TV you already own to stream your favorite TV shows, movies, music, sports, games and more. Chromecast works with iPhone®, iPad®, Android phone and tablet, Mac® and Windows® laptop, and Chromebook.”

PS4 – gaming console

Xbox One – gaming console

Garmin Vivofit 3 – “No need to switch out your watch or start a new activity, vívofit 3 recognizes when your movement changes so you can go from a walk to a run in no time.”

iPad

Amazon Echo – “Amazon Echo is a hands-free speaker you control with your voice.”

Apple Watch – “The new Apple Watch is the ultimate device for your healthy life.”

Samsung Smart TV – “Stream TV, movies, games, apps, social media and more. Find what you want fast with with your favorites panel. Learn more about the Samsung Smart TV.”

Moral of the story, whichever device you choose is going to have its pros and cons.  I would suggest polling your team and learning which devices they use or prefer and why.  The athletes are the best resource into the trends of the recruits when it comes to current technology / Apps/ Emojis / etc.  It may also pay to invest in one of the cool devices or products listed above for your locker room or team room.  A 100-300 dollar investment may make that lasting impression on that recruit who comes to campus and who knows, it could be the piece that seals the deal!
Whatever device or system you prefer, I hope this has given you another perspective into the common debate of “iPhone vs. Android” and encourages you to check in with your team and recruits allowing you to be more connected with them through technology.

Ball Don’t LieMonday, January 30th, 2017

bill_headshot_dantudorBill Lynch, Front Rush

As athletes, we rely on instinctual decision making – our ability to make split-second judgments.  Should I pull up on a fast break or drive to the basket? Should I swing at this pitch? Where do I think this fly ball is going to land?

We’ve trained and sharpened these skills our whole lives, and have been rewarded for it.  Unfortunately, this type of reasoning can also lead us astray.  If we make all of our decisions based on our gut feelings or rules of thumb, we can fall victim to many cognitive biases.

Now I’m not telling you never to trust your gut, because most of our judgments and actions are sound most of the time, as is the confidence we place in our gut.

But not every single time.  We like to think that we’re rational beings, but we often exhibit these cognitive biases that prove otherwise.

This post will attempt to identify and explain how those cognitive biases affect recruiting and coaching experiences, with the aim being a more developed understanding of yourself, your staff, and your competitors.  Let’s get started.

Confirmation Bias

Definition: The tendency to seek out information that reaffirms our own belief.

Example:

Think about the stud athletes who exhibit coachability problems.  He or she argues with teammates on the field, displays a lack of interest when the coach speaks and stands at the back of the huddle.   These all should be cues to take a deeper evaluation, but the minute you hear from someone that the athlete’s coachability isn’t as big of a deal as it seems and that his athletic ability outweighs it, you’re satisfied.  Because that is what you want to hear.

Example:

The coach that sticks to his playbook and always punts on 4th down instead of considering data showing that choice to be sub-optimal at times.

While it may help us feel more secure and better about ourselves, it doesn’t always lead to the best decisions.

Optimism Bias

Definition: The tendency to believe that you are less at risk of experiencing a negative event compared to others.

Example:

To continue with the example used in the confirmation bias, think about a time a ‘project’ didn’t pan out.  Otherwise known as a bust.  It happens all of the time, a player might be raw and needs to develop, or they fit the build of an exceptional athlete but just aren’t there yet.  By overestimating the benefits of recruiting that player and underestimating the costs, you may miss other recruiting or player development opportunities that provide a less risky alternative.

Selective Perception

Definition: The tendency not to notice and more quickly forget things that contradict our prior beliefs.

Example:

When a coach or fan base complains that the referees only called fouls on their team or penalties against them.

Bandwagon Effect

Definition: The phenomenon whereby the rate of uptake of beliefs or ideas increases the more that they have already been adopted by others.  

Example:

Think about a time when you went to a recruiting event and ended up looking at some players solely because everyone else was.  The player may be good, but you’re jumping because everyone else is, without evaluating the kid outside of the hype.  It can be especially costly when that time spent pulls you away from the athletes you came to the event to scout, backed by information prepared beforehand, aka the real purpose you’re there.

The same thing can be said about product fads.  Through the bandwagon effect, you may buy a product you see somewhere that advertises like “Priced at just $$$, our product comes with x,y,z bells and whistles, guaranteed to change the way you do live!”  Then a few months later you realize that while it’s cool and your friends bought into it, nothing has changed.

Framing Effect

Definition: Drawing conclusions from the same information based on how it’s presented.

Example:

This happens a lot in email correspondences and wherever words can be twisted. Take, for instance, a recruit that tells you he’s the captain of his team and helped improve their winning percentage by 20%!  That sounds wonderful right? Now, what if they said something like “We had a better record this year, improving to 6 wins from last year’s 5.”  Doesn’t have the same effect. So remember to look closely at the information and try to peel back layers to find the real meaning.

Sunk Cost

Definition: A cost that has already been incurred and cannot be recovered.

Example:

In sports this can when you have a highly touted recruit that is turning into a bust. Just continuously batting .200, making mistakes they shouldn’t be making, the whole deal.  But you’ve invested so much into them, that you can’t let it go.  Rather than considering the future costs and benefits of allowing someone else to flourish in place of this person, we often just look at the resources already invested.

Dunning-Kruger Effect

Definition: The tendency to mistakenly assess your ability as higher than it is.

Example:

Confucius said, “Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.”

This effect happens across the board where self-assessment is asked.  You’ll see a general overconfidence, whether it’s in how a recruit ranks themselves at a sport or how a coach ranks themselves at their job.  The moral of the story is to shy away from self-reporting assessments or to go about them with the right mindset and rely on them appropriately.

Curse of Knowledge:

Definition: The tendency to assume the people you are communicating with have the same background as you.

Example:

Whenever you are in a teaching position, it is imperative to be able to communicate information at the level of those you are teaching.  It’s like trying to teach a 3rd grader Shakespeare or trying to whiteboard a complicated scheme in your playbook to a freshman player that hasn’t seen it before.  You’ll get the deer in the headlights look, a disconnection from the lecture entirely.

Clustering Illusion

Definition: The tendency to erroneously consider the inevitable “streaks” arising in small samples to be non-random.

Example:

There was a famous study done which looked at the shooting percentage of the Philadelphia 76ers during the 1980-1981 season.  Specifically, they noted if the shot was made or not and then noted if the shot right after it was made or not.  They found that “a player’s performance on a given shot is independent of his performance on previous shots.”  I’m not saying streaks don’t happen, or that you shouldn’t give it to the guy with the hot hand. Rather that in a string of shots over the course of the season streaks will happen.

Outcome Bias

Definition: The error to judge a past decision by its ultimate outcome instead of based on the quality of the decision at the time it was made, given what was known at that time.

Example:

“Ball don’t lie.” NBA player Rasheed Wallace used to say these words after a foul shot was made or missed.  If the referee called a foul on Rasheed which he thought wasn’t a foul, and then the player at the foul line missed his shot, Rasheed would say “Ball don’t lie,” meaning the foul call was wrong because the outcome of the shot was a miss.  He would similarly use it when an arguable call sent him to the line and he made the shot.  “Ball don’t lie,” in this case, meant that the right call was made since the outcome was a made free throw.

As you can see, cognitive biases are pretty common, and they influence decisions and strategies sometimes without even realizing it.  In sports, they can make or break games and seasons.   So when it comes time to make decisions or have an informed discussion, be mindful of these cognitive biases.  Better yet, combine it with hard data and you’ll be golden.

 

Mini Talking RobotsFriday, January 20th, 2017

unnamedKen Whittaker, Front Rush

Each week we try to teach you something new or enlighten you about the latest technology. My colleagues and I have written about smart gadgets, wearable technology, and even emojis over the past few months. With all this wearable, on-the-go technology, downloads, apps, and other virtual products taking over your time, it’s sometimes nice to hear about how technology can be used to make your life easier. As you may have seen on TV during the holiday season, Amazon Echo and Google Home are the two dominating voice controlled tech products intended to basically sit in once place and do a lot of stuff. These mini know-it-all robots (they aren’t really robots, it’s just cooler to call them that) have tons of capability, and could finally be the bridge many of us have hoped for (or feared) all our lives. How cool would it be to turn on the lights with your voice or even change the channel when you ask? To some, this might seem lazy. To others, it’s the future.

 

Ok, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. To back up a little bit, the Amazon Echo and Google Home are two very popular standalone devices that respond to your command and give you feedback, information, and tons of other responses. I have had the ability to use both, and have found each to be quite impressive. Setup on each is relatively simple. Basically, you take the device out of the box, plug it in, download the companion app on your phone, and it’s set up in minutes. Before you know it, you’ll have a talking robot in your house, waiting for you to put it to work.

 

“Excuse me? There’s a mini robot listening to me in my house?” you might be thinking. Well, not exactly. Both devices are activated with a “wake word” which lets the device know you’re talking to it. Amazon has cleverly named their device “Alexa” while Google is activated by saying “Ok, Google” or “Hey, Google” before it starts to listen to you. The Echo allows for some variability in wake word, such as calling it “Amazon” or other select options. From experience, it’s pretty simple to get used to activating the device. I’m sure that some of you are still a little freaked out. Basically, once you activate either device with the wake word, it will light up and start listening to your request. These devices do not always listen to your conversations (they have better things to do) – so there aren’t really any privacy concerns. The computational power to listen and process everything you say would be cumbersome and useless, quite frankly.

 

Great. But what’s the point of having a mini robot with selective hearing? From streaming music, checking sports scores, new headlines, weather updates, and controlling your lighting – the possibilities are endless. Amazon was the first major player into this space, releasing the Echo device first. The Google Home was just released a few months ago – and now the race is on. As with most technology, there are things that one device can do that the other cannot. For example, the Echo allows you to purchase things from Amazon and has exclusive deals for Prime members, while Google Home has the powerful backend of the Google search engine behind it. In my experience, asking the Echo facts was hit or miss, generally. The Google Home is better with satisfying the answer to the random curious thought that may be running through your mind. On the contrary, Amazon’s established history in the space has allowed it to partner with multiple third parties already, particularly with home automation, to bring “Alexa” to many more devices, as of now. Some speculate that Google will be able to catch up soon, but all we can do is wait and see.
Competition in this area in technology is bound to be a good thing. For one, users will want each device to be capable of doing things the other is able to do – and both Amazon and Google will be motivated to provide customers with an excellent experience. If you’re curious, I suggest you look into the devices. If you tend to be in the Amazon eco-system – you might find more benefit from the Echo devices (original Amazon Echo is about $180 and the smaller version Echo Dot is about $50). If you want to see where Google takes the product and find searching to be more beneficial, you might want to check out the Google Home (priced around $130 currently). For me, both devices are great and offer a ton of functionality. As a self proclaimed geek, setting up wall outlets that respond to “turn on the light” after calling the wake word is awesome. The future possibilities are seemingly endless.

The Fitbit EvolutionMonday, January 16th, 2017

mike vizzoniMike Vizzoni, Front Rush

A little while back my co-worker Chris wrote an article on this blog taking a look at all of the wearable technology we have available these days (link here). It is rather incredible to reflect on how many different options we have as athletes and consumers. From GPS tracking to heart rate monitors to messaging to entertainment, the possible fields that wearable tech can cover seems endless. When wearable tech first started rolling out I was a little skeptical. To me, it did not seem practical to constantly have something attached to you during training or simply everyday activities. Man oh, man was I wrong. Wearable tech has exploded in recent years, and this trend does not seem to be slowing down. As mentioned earlier, my co-worker Chris has already covered several wearable technologies. Here, however, I will be diving into a product that deserves much credit for this wearable uprising. Fitbit is one of the first fitness wearable technologies, and their story deserves to be told.

History

Fitbit, like most other tech start-up companies, is based out of San Francisco, California. The company was founded back on May 1, 2007, by James Park and Eric Friedman. In the mid 2000’s Eric and James began to notice how good sensors and wireless technology were progressing. The tech was reaching a point where the data retrieved by them could be exploited in countless ways. Eric and James realized that they could bring this technology to fitness and change the way people evaluated their movement. They decided to design a product that could seamlessly fit into someone’s life to help improve their health and fitness goals. The Fitbit was born. The first version of this product was released in 2009. This version could be attached to your shirt or pants and monitored very basic activity movement. They sold around 25,000 units. Once 2011 came around Fitbit released a new version that now included an altimeter, digital clock, and stopwatch. To continue the progress Fitbit went ahead and released two more models in 2012. The consistency of model upgrades is what separated Fitbit apart from many other wearable tech products and really kept them ahead of the curve. By the time 2013 hit, Fitbit released their first wristband model. The wristband model is what most people think of when they picture a Fitbit. This seemed to be the most appealing to users and is why Fitbit has further pursued that type of model. In 2015 Fitbit announced its IPO as $4.1 billion! They were the number one wearable tech product and had sold over 18 million units in one year. Last year Fitbit put out four new models; the Blaze, Alta, Charge 2 and the Flex 2. They continue to stay on top of the wearable market outperforming other industry leaders such as Apple, Xiaomi, and Garmin.

Today

Currently, Fitbit is still producing new models and continues to wow its customers with new features. The latest Fitbit supports features such as Bluetooth connection to smartphones, step and distance tracking, floors climbed, calories burned, and sleep patterns. Some of the most recent models also support text messaging and phone calls. All of this data is accessible through the Fitbit app. Simply sign up, log in, and take a look at the calories you burn per day or perhaps how many steps you have taken. What you then do with that data is entirely up to you. The possibilities are endless. This allows users to improve their daily activity and live a healthier life one step at a time. The great thing about Fitbit is that it has utilities that can be very useful for the elite athlete and everyday person alike.

Coaches, ask around to see if your players own Fitbits or any other type of wearable tech. Challenge them to improve their fitness being tracked each day and perhaps look into getting one for yourself. We live in a data-driven society and products such as Fitbit can only help improve your active life by taking advantage of that data.

Why I hate my smartphoneMonday, January 9th, 2017

neal_headshot_dantudorNeal Cook, Front Rush

A new year, a new resolution that won’t stick, but maybe it will work for you:

Taking a break from my smartphone.

Have you pondered how your day would function without that little, 4.7-inch screen in your pocket? The one that you feel buzzing, even when it’s not, but you hear that buzz in the back of your mind?  Remember those carefree days when you didn’t have the convenience of having your world in your pocket? I do. More and more each day.

If all smartphones were removed mysteriously from the planet, at the strike of midnight, tonight, what would we lose? Convenience. No longer would you be able to: call your taxi, order your dinner, look up movie times, check your fantasy sports teams, find the score of the game, keep connected with your work colleagues, listen to music, use your GPS, check Instagram because you’re bored, Facebook, Snapchat, make impulse purchases (with money you don’t have), check in with your family, find a date, watch movies, play games, bank, recruit. I could go on. But that’s already a run-on sentence.

The thing is, you would still be able to accomplish all of the conveniences and jobs we hire a smartphone to provide us. Other products and methods of technology, would fill the smartphone less void, at the cost of convenience.

Each of us uses our smartphone in unique ways. Some may not be addicted as others, or have better self-control, but, for some, putting your phone down can be quite a challenge. Next time you go into a restaurant, do a quick James Bond scan and count the number of faces staring down at their phone.

Convenience, like everything in this world, needs to be balanced. Yin and yang. Take away smartphones entirely, and the average person would gain 90 minutes a day, or 23 days a year. That time can go towards a lot of things. Think of everything you’ve wanted to accomplish, and explore since you were a small lad/gal. Personally, I’m trying to learn the bass, read more, and become the greatest Beatles cover band of all time (with a little help from my friends).

So will everyone slow down their phone usage in 2017? One-hundred percent, no. Unless that smartphone Angel snatches all of our phones at midnight, tonight.

In reality, smartphone usage will continue to ramp up in 2017 and for the foreseeable future. By 2020, smartphone internet traffic will pass PC internet traffic for the first time. Also, toss in the fact that more developed and developing countries are still just getting access to the web for the first time (approx 43% of the world population has access now), and the projections for connected phones and people will only skyrocket.

No one is going to control your phone usage (it’s not 1984, yet). So it’s up to you and me to monitor our usage and keep ourselves in check. For technology and convenience need to be balanced with the important things in life (the love that we create.)

You need to use this google maps hackMonday, December 26th, 2016

neal_headshot_dantudorNeal Cook, Front Rush

Hey Coaches!

Hope your Holiday weekend was splendid!

As much as I would have loved to slide down each and every one of your chimneys, like Scott Calvin, from Santa Claus, I am physically unable to do so (side note…Neal from Santa Claus is a huge prick).

What I can give to you is my top-secret Google Maps hack. This have been tested on the iPhone 7, but should work on Android devices as well.

Without further ado!

Your Places

Follow these steps to save you time in the long run:

  1. Open Google Maps
  2. Click on the 3 horizontal bars to the left of the ‘Search Google Maps’ search bar
  3. Click ‘Your Places’
  4. If you haven’t done so before, click ‘enter an address’ next to the Home and Work icons. Plug in your addresses.
  5. Click the back arrow to get back to the search bar
  6. Enter in an address that you use GPS for frequently (gym, grocery store, mall, etc). You can also enter in family/friends addresses (aunts, girlfriends, grandparents, etc)
  7. Click on the address
  8. Click on the ‘Label’ icon in the center-bottom of the page
  9. Name this address (moms, dads, gym, etc)
  10. Click ‘Done’
  11. Repeat this for all of your frequent searches

googlemaps1googlemaps2

What you just did was associate your favorite people/places with their physical address.

So instead of typing in “2240 Mercerville-Whitehorse Road, Hamilton Township, NJ 08619” to find your Grandma’s nursing home every time you pull up your Google Maps, you can just type “Grandma” to be directed to her location. That is, unless she has ran away on her wheelchair (which my Grandma frequently hints at).

This is a great time-saving hack, and has saved me from repeatedly asking my close acquaintances for their address over and over again.

Hope this helps a tiny bit!

 

Amazon Go (Ho Ho)Monday, December 19th, 2016

jw_headshotJulie Weiss, Front Rush

Yesterday while standing in a long snaking line in Bed Bath and Beyond I caught myself in a brief state of holiday hypnosis as I gazed into the eyes of a dancing Santa figurine  perched on the top shelf of the aisle endcap. Sigh, ‘tis the season for magic. As I came out of my haze I wondered if this familiar shopping experience is soon to change.

Earlier this month Amazon, a company who continues to push the magical envelope when it comes to catering to the consumer, unveiled it’s newest trick, an even more convenient convenience store they are calling Amazon Go. You may have seen the commercial. Customers walk into the store and are free to put whatever they want in their bag then simply walk out. No check out, no lines. It’s all handled through your phone. The Amazon Go app recognizes what you have put in your bag (blows my mind) and then charges you accordingly. So how exactly do they do that?

Amazon has figured out a way to read our minds. Upon entering the store a drone greets you with a bag full of everything that is on your shopping list. Okay okay, so maybe it’s not quite like this (yet).

The concept of the store is made possible through a combination of machine learning, sensors in the form of cameras and microphones; and artificial intelligence. USAToday outlines the flow as follows…

  • Customer walks in, taps phone on sensor in an area Amazon is calling the “transition area”
  • Surveillance identifies the customer
  • Cameras placed throughout the store capture items shoppers pick up and can determine whether the item stays with them or is placed back on the shelf
  • Microphones are used to detect where customers are by the noises they make
  • Infrared pressure and load sensors are used on the shelves to help note when an item is picked up or put back
  • The sensors also tell the store where everything and everyone is at any moment
  • Upon exit, items are totaled up and charged to the user’s Amazon account where they will receive a receipt for their purchases.

The blueprint is intriguing. The system feels thought out and well planned (so far?). The patent filed by Amazon in 2014 gives us an even closer (and somewhat creepier) look at what is involved.

“The use of cameras can even go as far as to determine your skin color. The patent says this is used to identify the shopper’s hand to see whether they actually pick up anything off of a shelf, but combine that with the fact that Amazon knows what you’re buying and who you are and this is pretty next-level market research data.” (verge.com 12/6/16)

Yes it does sound a little creepy, but if they make us aware of the creepiness from the get go while making the shopping experience more efficient in the process, do we give them a pass?

What about the human variable? What if an item is put back in the wrong place? How will the sensors react? Are the microphones able to differentiate between customers? Will quiet shoppers go undetected when drowned out by crying babies? How will Amazon account for multiple cell phones when families, friends (and teams), shop together? Will an army of drones be released on potential shoplifters? It is yet to be seen how such variables will be taken into account.

The beta store located in Seattle is currently being tested out on Amazon employees and is slated to open to the public in early 2017. The inventory consists of basic grocery needs and pre-made meal kits. With Amazon’s hold on ecommerce it is not hard to imagine how this concept will branch out if proven successful.

Imagine running to the store to stock up on food for your next away game without lines.

Looking past retail, the possibilities that this technology creates are endless.

Streamin’ On The GoMonday, December 12th, 2016

mike vizzoniMike Vizzoni, Front Rush

Netflix recently released an update to their incredibly popular app that allows users to download content for offline use. This new feature will let people binge their favorite Netflix content with no internet connection what-so-ever. This is huge news and something that people have been waiting quite a while for.

Funny thing is that back in 2014 the current director of corporate communications, Cliff Edwards, stated that the company would NEVER support downloadable content. He said that offline play back would be a “short-term fix for a bigger problem”. The bigger problem being poor internet connection. Although most of America still suffers from poor internet connection, faster speeds are on the rise! According to Speedtest.com, we have seen the average upload speed of fixed broadband internet usage rise to 50 mbps in 2016. That is 40% higher than 2015 and broadband internet speed seems to be rising even more as the year went on:

Screen Shot 2016-12-09 at 2.34.42 PM

(http://www.speedtest.net/reports/united-states/)

So with the average speed of the internet increasing why is offline playback such a huge announcement for Netflix? This is most exciting for those who travel a lot or simply want to save on cellular data usage. Those of us who travel frequently may have been disappointed in the past when attempting to watch Netflix on a plane, subway, train, or any other form of transformation. You are not always able to connect to the internet when traveling and this new feature will let users download content to then watch while traveling without an internet connection. This is also great for those of us who may have an internet connection through cellular data but would rather stream Netflix without using said data. Cellular networks have a stranglehold on data and most people are trying to cut corners on data usage whenever possible. This can prevent people from going over their monthly data allowance which in turn helps save a ton of money.

Let’s quickly break down how offline playback works. First off, make sure you have updated the Netflix app to the most current version on whatever mobile device you normally us to stream. Once the app is updated you will see a new message pop up the first time you open it:

netflix-download-1

You are now officially able to download select content on Netflix. When this was first released many people thought that users would only be able to download Netflix’s original series and movies but Netflix has gone above and beyond! Good Will Hunting, Pulp Fiction, Mad Men, and Parks and Recreation are just a few examples of other production company’s content that you are able to download. Netflix spokeswoman Marlee Tart also announced that “Netflix is working with lots of partners globally to get downloading rights for the bulk of the content on our service”. Hopefully one day everything within Netflix will be available for offline playback but in the meantime, they have supplied a great little tool within the app that lets you search for downloadable content. Any show or movie that supports this new feature will have this option:

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After clicking the arrow symbol, the content will begin to download. Always make sure the download has finished completely before exiting the app. Also, keep in mind that downloading shows and movies will take up physical storage on your device.

Coaches, be sure to share this info with your players. I am sure many of them enjoy watching Netflix on the way to or home from games. This new feature will surely help them save on data and I know when I was in college my parents would have been thrilled about that.

What Exactly is a Meme?Monday, November 21st, 2016

IMG_2590 (1)Josh DiCristo, Front Rush

Writing an article about memes might seem counter-intuitive at first. You’re only a sentence and a half in and already you’ve read more text than is in an average meme. Probably. I don’t know, there’s really not any significant data on that sort of thing. But part of that reason is because memes aren’t a language, though you might find the people who are the most confused by them usually refer to them as such.

“I don’t get this stuff, it’s like they’re speaking a whole nother language.”

Well first off, “a whole nother” isn’t English so maybe take a look in the mirror before you criticize. But second off, the word “meme” actually comes from a term describing an idea or behavior that spreads between cultures. So really, it’s more of a sociological term than a linguistic one. And if you think about it, that actually makes a lot of sense. Memes gained traction on the internet because they’re short jokes overlaid on top of images that represent a simple, shared idea. Everyone likes short jokes and what better use of the internet is there than to connect with people from different walks of life over a shared experience and make them laugh in the process?

And that brings us to the first rule of memes. Don’t try to use them in conversation, and don’t print them out and put them anywhere. They live online and are best read in your head.

But what kind of memes do you share with your recruits? You want to connect with them in some sort of way but you also don’t want to be the weird, out-of-touch adult desperately trying to seem cool.

OutOfTouchMemeExample

Dear god, please don’t do this.

College Freshman

The college freshman meme might be the most relevant for the purposes of recruiting. When that wide-eyed and bushy-tailed freshman is still making that transition from high school to college and they’re doing and saying the wrong things? Well the internet found the stock photo for that idea and jumped on it.

CollegeFreshman

Confused Fry

Fry is a character from Futurama but for the purpose of understanding the meme, all that matters is he captures the feeling not understanding if an action means one thing or something else completely different. The other meaning could be random, inappropriate, or sometimes the complete opposite.

ConfusedFry

Bad Luck Brian

Everyone’s had a bad school picture day every once in awhile. Just be glad yours didn’t go viral. You could say that adds an extra bit of irony to Bad Luck Brian, who encapsulates every time the rug’s been pulled from under you.

BadLuckBrian

Biden/Obama

And finally, the new kid on the block. These Biden/Obama memes have been echoing around certain corners of the internet for a while now, but they’ve taken on a new life since the election. No matter where you stand on the results, the decision from the internet has been unanimous – Joe Biden as the embarrassing trickster/class clown/roommate to Obama’s straight man will be sorely missed come January.

ObamaBiden

Learn How To Keep LearningMonday, November 14th, 2016

unnamedby Ken Whittaker, Front Rush

I’ve learned enough for one lifetime…said nobody ever. The reality is, we learn something new every day (gross, clichè) through the people we meet, the news we watch or read, or the work we do. There’s no doubt that knowledge surrounds us, and as new technology comes out, it’s very easy to feel dated. It seems like every year there’s a new social media craze, companies trying to remove the everyday need for the laptop, TVs that offer a clearer-than-life picture, and technology that makes us feel like dinosaurs at times. So, how can we stay relevant and keep learning – without breaking the bank?

Well, because we live in this technology driven society – we can leverage this to our advantage. As a software developer, I must continue to learn and adapt new technology, languages, and proficiencies to be sure the products and applications I build meet or exceed the end user’s standards. Newsletters, articles, blog posts, and Twitter can all be instrumental in getting pointed in the right direction. However, don’t be fooled into believing that this is only possible for technology geeks such as myself. Of course, online courses are a great resources for people looking to advance in their current career, but also offer tremendous benefit for picking up a hobby or learning more about something you’ve always been passionate about or interested in. You may surprise yourself how much you already knew, how much you’ve been lead on to believe, and how much is out there still to be learned.

One of my favorite online course sites is Udemy. Many courses are inexpensive, sometimes being discounted as low as $10 and ranging up to $200. After signing up for a free account, you can purchase access to any number of Udemy courses taught by various instructors across the globe. From learning languages to finding out how to get that six pack in the gym, Udemy offers thousands of courses that you can purchase and participate in at your pace. Many courses also offer a section that allow you to post questions to the instructor, and they have the opportunity to respond to you. Of course, this will vary based on the instructor, but is a useful resource if you get stuck or really want to learn more.

Lynda is another option, though I admit I have not used it yet. Their pricing model is a little different by which you can pay around $20 or $30 per month for unlimited access to thousands of courses. This would be a good option for anyone that wants the ability to hop around topics without the need to pay for multiple courses. Also, if you accidentally dive in to a course that is too difficult or too easy, you could potentially switch to another one without having to worry that you’ve wasted your money.

One of the last ways you could gain some extra knowledge is through various podcasts (hey, I hear Dan Tudor just launched their own podcast!) or TEDTalks. These offer a wider range of topics, from sports to healthy eating choices, and is a more passive way to learn new things. Podcasts have been around for a while now, but if you find a topic you’re passionate about and want to learn more, or just want to be inspired or hear a success story, podcasts offer a relaxing way to get those neurons firing. Don’t know what a neuron is? Maybe a podcast or Udemy course on Psychology might be a great start!

 

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