Silicon Valley is known as the place to be for startups in the technology business, and with companies looking to move there next to some of the biggest names in the business, it comes as no surprise that companies are often after the best internet they can get. SmartCar initially thought that moving there would be like a dream come true for the company with the amazing deal Comcast was offering on their internet, that was until several months later when the company wanted $60,000 after not installing the internet.
Founder and CEO of SmartCar Sahas Katta moved the company office to Silicon Valley with the dream of it being the best place to start the company off. Looking for the best deal Katta found that Comcast was offering “Comcast Business” in their area, offering 100Mbps downstream and 20Mbps upstream for only $189.90 a month. After signing a deal to get the package Katta was told by Comcast that they would need to do a site survey to see if they were actually going to be able to match that promise.
The response was that the new office was “just outside of” the Comcast service zone. They deemed it financially unviable to run the cables required to the building and instead offered to bring fiber to the building after Katta signed a four-year contract paying $1,050 a month for the 100Mbps service he was originally promised. Having signed the lease for the new building Katta felt like there was no choice and signed, with the promise that he would have fiber within 120 days.
With the lease on the property ending Katta contacted Comcast stating that he wished to terminate the contract, at which Comcast stated that in order to cancel the contract SmartCar would need to pay $60,900.45 to cover “construction costs”.
Thankfully Comcast has waived these fees after Ars Technica got ahold of Comcast’s public relations team regarding the matter, and have even promised a refund of the $2,100 deposit that was already paid. Just goes to show that you need to read and check you can actually get the internet they promise before you sign the contract.
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is bringing Comic Con to Silicon Valley, and with it a specific emphasis on consumer electronics. Wozniak, affectionately known as “Woz”, aims to blend the usual science fiction and fantasy media and cosplay with what the official Silicon Valley Comic Con site calls “science fact”. As Wozniak told the Associated Press, “I don’t like doing the same thing as everyone else.”
“The emotions we have for technology now are the same as we get for movies, celebrities and the whole pop culture side of our lives,” Wozniak said.
Guests at the event include Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, and Lea Thompson, stars of Back to the Future, plus Nathan Fillion (Firefly, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-Long Blog), Karen Gillen (Doctor Who, Guardians of the Galaxy), William Shatner (duh), and Stan Lee (double-duh).
“Silicon Valley Comic Con will be a show unlike any other, as we bring together the best in technology and entertainment all under one gigantic roof,” Wozniak wrote on the official page. “There are lots of fans like me in San Francisco and the Valley, and I’m excited to finally have a Comic Con with our very own flavor. When I was growing up it was hard to be a geek. It definitely wasn’t cool back then, but I am happy that things have changed because now being a geek, or being different is cool. And Silicon Valley Comic Con celebrates being a geek!”
Amazon attempted to enter a marketplace which is saturated by established Smartphone makers which include juggernauts Apple and Samsung. The Fire phone was launched onto the market with its fair share of pomp and circumstance around 15 months ago, its hope was to piggyback onto the name of Amazon with the aim of enticing consumers with an alternative. Turns out this idea has ended in flames as Amazon has announced that it “has no plans” to replenish a product which is currently “Out Of Stock”
This follows a recent report which stated that there have been lay-offs at the US companies Silicon Valley research-and-development lab after the phone failed to resonate with consumers. So where did it all go wrong? Part of the reason was a lack of features which really failed to capture the imagination of consumers. The primary selling point of the Fire phone was the “Dynamic Perspective” camera which was able to track the movements of the user with the aim of offering an illusion of 3D. The problem lies with the trend of consumers which have been disinterested with this type of tech. This has been seen for example with broadcaster Sky and their failed 3D channel experiment and also lacklustre sales of television sets which offer the 3D experience.
In October 2014, the company revealed it had suffered a $170m (£110.5m) write-down which was attributed to below expectation sales for the gadget. Unless you wow consumers with an amazing product which offers a completely new experience to consumers, this product was always destined to self destruct. As a spectator it will be interesting to note the direction which Amazon decides to go after such a failure, I do envisage Amazon will think twice before attempting to challenge a market which has seen substantial growth from innovative companies which offers tech that is cutting edge.
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If you are thinking about a Terminator scenario when hearing the word ‘advanced artificial intelligence’, then you are not alone. Stephen Hawking makes his own predictions and states that artificial intelligence will overtake humans in just 100 years. This does not necessarily mean we will become extinct or enslaved by AI, but we do have to tread carefully when it comes to this technology.
“Computers will overtake humans with AI at some within the next 100 years. When that happens, we need to make sure the computers have goals aligned with ours.” Stephen Hawking stated. “Our future is a race between the growing power of technology and the wisdom with which we use it.” he added.
To put it plainly, it means that technology advances so fast that we can barely get a grip on it. This is why Hawking warns companies who deal with AI technology should take it down a notch and coordinate with others operating in the same field.
However, we may have went past that point today. Reports show that over 150 startup companies in Silicon Valley are already working on AI and more are expected to enter the latter area of research in the future too.
I tend to agree with Hawking’s last paragraph because let’s face it, in the end we will be speaking to a fully conscious machine sooner or later. But it is how we react to it and it reacts to us that will make the decisive moment.
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A potential restructuring of computer hardware company IBM could result in layoffs of 26% of staff, or over 111,000 people. If true, it would be the biggest corporate layoff in history, dwarfing the previous record – coincidentally held by IBM after a 1993 reorganisation – of 60,000.
Robert X. Cringely, a Silicon Valley journalist and author of the eBook The Decline and Fall of IBM, revealed the news in his Forbes column. Cringely blames former CEOs Louis Gerstner and Sam Palmisano for mismanagement, which current CEO Virginia Rometty has done nothing to stymie.
According to Cringely, the IBM reorganisation, nicknamed Project Chrome, has been in the planning stage since before Christmas, and has been triggered by another quarter of falling revenue, the 11th in a row for the company.
He remains sceptical that the drastic Project Chrome will do anything to save the ailing company, saying, “So while IBM is supposedly transforming, they are also losing business and customers every quarter. What are they actually doing to fix this? Nothing.”
“In saying the company is in a transition and is going to go through the biggest reorganization in its history, will this really fix a very obvious customer relationship problem? No, it won’t.”
Robotic security guards, known as Knightscope K5 Autonomous Data Machines, are now patrolling Silicon Valley. The automatons were built by Knightscope, a robotics company in Mountain View, California.
These “RoboCops” – with their built-in microphones, cameras, laser scanners, and sensors – are on the look-out for suspicious behaviour, which they can relay back to their control centre. They have speakers through which they can alert trespassers or potential burglars to vacate the area, while the unit uses its camera to record the person and send the video to the control centre. If the person does not leave then, according to Stacy Stephens, co-founder of Knightscope, “the robot is looking at the video, listening for glass breakage, any loud sound that breaking in would cause. We’ll get the license plate, picture of the vehicle, geotag location, and time.” The Kinghtscope K5’s sensors can also record and store up to 300 car licence plates per minute.
Knightscope hope to expand use of their patrolling robots to campuses, malls, casinos, and hotels in future. Use of the robots will reduce crime in an area by up to 50%.
A five-year-old boy has become the youngest person ever to pass Microsoft’s Certified Professional exam. Ayan Qureshi, from Coventry in the UK, has been using computers since he was three years old, under the guidance of his father, Asim. Ayan has a home computer lab, in which he has constructed his own network.
The invigilators worried that Ayan was too young to sit the exam, but Mr. Qureshi assured them that his son could cope. “There were multiple choice questions, drag and drop questions, hotspot questions and scenario-based questions,” Ayan said of the test.
Mamoona, Ayan’s mother, said of her son’s accomplishment, “I’m very happy and very proud, I don’t want to see him set a world record every day. But I want him to do his best whatever he does in his life.”
Ayan’s ambition is to set-up a UK equivalent to California’s Silicon Valley. He wants it to be named E-Valley.