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This is a discussion on Art Photos mixed within the Photos forums, part of the Fine Art category; Autonomous, flexible, GoPro-ready. 3D Robotics We still don't know what drones are for, exactly. That’s what Chris Anderson, Wired editor-in-chief ...

          
   
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    The Most Powerful Consumer Drone Yet Is Coming To The Market This Summer

    Autonomous, flexible, GoPro-ready.


    3D Robotics

    We still don't know what drones are for, exactly.

    That’s what Chris Anderson, Wired editor-in-chief turned CEO of 3D Robotics, believes. But he has an idea. “The real distinction for drones, and what we do best,” he told BuzzFeed News, “is autonomy.” Anderson and his team at 3D Robotics are trying to create intelligent drones and bring them to consumers.

    Today, they bring us Solo. Available in Best Buys across the country for $999 starting May 29, the Solo is arguably the most tricked-out personal drone ever, loaded with two Linux computers, a 25-minute maximum flight time, GoPro integration, and the capability to wirelessly stream video to nearly any device. In other words, Solo allows you to see what your drone sees, in real time, and then show your friends.

    “We are in a golden age of personal storytelling,” Anderson said. “This is for people that love capturing great video, and it lets the drone get the shot for you.”

    Solo comes with nearly unlimited use cases, but imagine you’re playing soccer, and want to get a video of yourself in the game. You can set a route for the Solo — say, a single line along the field, like the cables sports networks attach cameras to — and start playing. The Solo will follow you along that axis, deciding for itself what the best angle to capture you is from via its computer-assisted “Smart Shots” feature. It’s an entirely new perspective for home video, and a completely autonomous process new to consumer-available drones.

    “This is totally narcissistic and totally nerdy,” said Anderson. But he thinks that this is just the beginning. What Anderson reckons is truly interesting is seeing what comes next.

    “We’ve just scraped the surface on what a drone can be,” he said. “We’re going to collectively explore autonomous flight.” Anderson sees Solo, with its internal computers and powerful, flexible software, as a platform that people are going to hack and adapt to their own uses as time goes on. Right now, it’s the most autonomous storytelling device on the market because, right now, that’s what consumers use drones for most. But seeing how people use Solo is, Anderson believes, how we find out where drones go next.


    Via 3D Robotics


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    Stay-at-home mom Ali Jardine

    Stay-at-home mom Ali Jardine has amassed a huge following on Instagram, 511,000 followers, by consistently creating surreal photos on her iPhone. Originally a painter, Jardine found her true calling as an artist when she started playing with Instagram and all the other photo apps on her mobile device.

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    Can An On-Demand Startup Survive Without Contract Labor?

    Munchery is one of many companies that want to change the way we eat by selling cheap, nutritious, pre-made meals — and it wants to do so paying its employee a living wage. It won’t be easy.


    Via Munchery

    These days, especially in San Francisco, it seems like you can get pretty much anything delivered at the push of a button: Whether it's a ride or a hairdresser or a house-cleaner or coffee or weed, the on-demand economy can have it on your door almost instantly.

    The same goes for dinner. Don't want to cook, don't want to go out, don't want to order in? Munchery has a solution for that: fresh-cooked, refrigerated food, prepared by professional, pedigreed restaurant-quality chefs, delivered to your door for a reasonable price.

    But there's something that sets Munchery apart from the rest: While companies such as Uber, Instacart, and Homejoy rely on contract labor to make the seeming magic of the on-demand economy happen, Munchery has committed to treating its employees like, well, you know, employees - that is, salaried workers with benefits. That's an expensive business model and a tough road to hoe, however — and it's not Munchery's only challenge.

    Munchery faces plentiful competition, high labor costs, angry neighbors, and the challenges associated with making dinner for thousands of people a night. Now poised to enter its fifth year and its fourth city, it's a parable for the challenges a young, ambitious, well-meaning startup faces on the path to scale in the 1099 economy.

    Tri Tran co-founded Munchery to solve a relatively specific problem: Weekday dinners are stressful - especially for families, especially for those trying to eat healthfully and on a budget. He set out to create a delivery option that was easier than cooking, more healthful than standard delivery fare, and cheaper than eating out.

    And it's worked out pretty well. According to Tran, Munchery now serves "many thousands" of meals a day, operates in San Francisco, Seattle, New York City, and, soon, Los Angeles, and has raised nearly $40 million, including investments from high-profile venture capital firms such as SherpaVentures and Menlo Ventures.

    But Tran isn't the only founder who predicted that busy urbanites would thrill at the prospect of hand-delivered, partially cooked, relatively nutritious meals, and Munchery is but one of many startups eyeing the busy American's dinner table. Sprig, SpoonRocket, and Zesty are all rolling up on your door with similar concepts: meals at various stages of preparedness. Meanwhile companies such as Blue Apron and Plated have both found success delivering ingredients to customers who want to cook for themselves, but don't know how, or don't have the time to shop. And of course, there's also more traditional takeout, now facilitated by websites like Grubhub and Seamless. All of these companies cut into Munchery's potential customer base: people too busy or too lazy to cook dinner for themselves from scratch.

    For now, Munchery is the biggest, at least among its immediate competitors: Sprig, which claims to have served more than 300,000 meals since launch and has raised $11.7 million, has a kitchen staff of 50 in San Francisco. SpoonRocket, meanwhile, has raised $11 million. (SpoonRocket didn't respond to request for comment for this story.)







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    Google Faces Antitrust Investigation By European Union Regulators

    The EU has accused the search giant of illegally using its search powers to squash competition.


    Virginia Mayo / ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Commissioner Margrethe Vestager's "statement of objection" could force the internet giant to change its business model in Europe, as well as pay a large fine.

    Vestager alleged that Google used its powers as a search engine to promote its other services over other companies, the Financial Times reported. The investigation began five years ago, the Wall Street Journal reported, and it's set to be the largest antitrust case against a company since Microsoft.


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    After GamerGate, Congress Is Grappling With Online Abuse

    At a Congressional briefing on cyberstalking and online threats, advocates, including Representative Katherine Clark, stressed the need for heightened enforcement.



    Getty Images/iStockphoto scyther5


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    Apple Is Buying Up 36,000 Acres Of Forest To Preserve It

    The partnership with The Conservation Fund will supply much of the company’s virgin paper fiber.


    Brunswick forest, North Carolina
    Whitney Flanagan, The Conservation Fund

    Apple is partnering with an environmental nonprofit to purchase roughly 36,000 acres of private forestland, which will be sustainably harvested and used in Apple’s packaging.

    The land — two tracts in Maine and North Carolina that, combined, are roughly two and a half times the size of Manhattan — will be managed by The Conservation Fund. This land is part of an estimated 45 million acres of private forest in the U.S. that are in danger of being lost to development.

    “Apple wanted to work with an organization that had the ability to acquire and manage these forests, and we’re thrilled about this partnership,” Larry Selzer, The Conservation Fund’s president, told BuzzFeed News. “Apple is doing something unprecedented here.”

    Though Apple will harvest pulp from these forests, other companies will also be able to buy fiber from them as well. Selzer’s organization will manage the forests under the “working forest” model, in which trees are harvested with what Daniel Brindis, a senior Forests Campaigner with Greenpeace, described to BuzzFeed News as “an eye toward the long-term economic well-being of the forest.”

    Brindis said that, generally speaking, working forests are “an improvement over clear-cutting — but that doesn’t mean they’re a panacea.”

    “There are a lot of elements about what makes forest use responsible,” he continued, and simply purchasing forestland doesn’t necessarily mean a company (or in this case, a nonprofit) will manage it correctly.

    Even so, Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environmental initiatives and former administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, told BuzzFeed News that the company managing its own supply chain — rather than buying pulp from outside vendors — represents a massive step forward.

    “Imagine if every time you opened a package from a company you knew that it came from a working forest. And imagine if companies took seriously their paper chain and made sure that was renewable, just like energy. And imagine if they didn’t just buy renewable paper, but took the step of ensuring that they would stay working forests forever.”

    Apple declined to say how much paper it uses in its packaging, but the company does sell hundreds of millions of iOS devices a year, each of which comes in a paper package that’s composed of about one-third nonrecycled fiber. According to Jackson, the paper produced by these two forests is equivalent to nearly half the virgin — that is, nonrecycled — fiber that went into Phone, iPad, iPod, Mac and Apple TV packaging last year. “Where we want to get, of course, is 100 percent,” said Jackson.

    “We feel a deep responsibility to take real action and make sure we’re addressing our own footprint, ” Jackson said. “And if we take the approach of just buying sustainably sourced paper, we’re not making the world a better place — we’re zeroing out. Apple has been really clear that we want to leave the world better than we found it; that’s one of our values.”

    Indeed, this move comes at a moment at which Apple appears to be considering more deeply than ever before its social impact. Just last month, CEO Tim Cook penned an op-ed in the Washington Post decrying Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act; as BuzzFeed’s John Paczkowski noted at the time, “Cook’s call for social progress is now Apple’s as well.”


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    Tech Groups Pressure Congress To End NSA Bulk Data Collection

    As some government spying powers are set to expire, Congress will soon decide whether to reauthorize provisions of the Patriot Act. Tech associations argue for greater accountability and transparency.


    Handout / Getty Images

    A host of technology trade groups are lobbying Congress to end the government's controversial metadata collection program that was brought to public prominence by Edward Snowden almost two years ago. In a letter sent to intelligence and judiciary leadership yesterday, groups representing a vast array of tech firms, including Google, IBM, Facebook, and Apple, expressed support for fundamental surveillance reform.

    The groups take specific issue with Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which federal agencies claim gives authority to collect American phone records without a warrant. The six groups that sent the letter, including TechNet, the Information Technology Industry Council, and the Information Industry Association, also appealed for increased government transparency. Their primary concern was that the current state of affairs is leading to a worldwide erosion of trust.

    "U.S. technology providers continue to face concerns from global customers regarding the safety and security of their offerings," the groups wrote. "In fact, foreign competitors and foreign governments regularly seize on this opportunity to challenge U.S. technological leadership by raising questions about our nation's surveillance regime."

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    MakerBot Closes Stores And Fires Staff After Missing Financial Targets

    The 3D printing company has laid off about a fifth of its staff and closed its three retail stores. It’s a reality check for the 3D printing industry.


    William Alden / Via BuzzFeed News

    MakerBot, the buzzy maker of 3D printers, is going through a painful retrenchment after a period of rapid growth.
    The Brooklyn-based company failed to meet ambitious targets for 2014 financial performance, and laid off about 120 employees on Friday, roughly a fifth of its staff, people familiar with the company told BuzzFeed News. MakerBot also closed its three retail stores, including its flagship location in Manhattan, according to an announcement posted to the company's website.

    The moves are a humbling reversal for MakerBot, which was founded in 2009 and acquired by a bigger 3D printing company, Stratasys, for more than $400 million in 2013. Stratasys, which sells printers to business customers for prototyping and manufacturing, saw the MakerBot deal as a way to reach the designers, hobbyists, and other consumers who used the startup's futuristic-seeming printers to create all manner of plastic objects.

    But 3D printing, once a hot new category that seemed to many like the next big thing, remains a niche product. A report last summer from the research firm Gartner predicted that mainstream adoption of the technology was still five to ten years away.


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    Now Anyone Can Slide Into Your DMs

    Twitter just changed its direct messages so anyone can DM you, whether you follow them or not.
    Today, Twitter began rolling out changes to the direct message feature that will make it easier for people to DM each other — even if one party doesn't follow the other:

    1) Allow anyone to DM you. Now — or soon; Twitter is rolling this feature out gradually — you'll have the option to enable anyone (not just people you follow) to DM you. This means any old rando out there can send you a DM (but only if you opt in). To opt in on mobile, go to me>gear icon>settings>account you want to change> "receive direct messages from anyone".

    2) You can now DM if only one of you follows. Even if you don't opt into to the "allow all randos" setting, you'll be able to DM with people you follow, even if they don't follow you back.
    This means if Kanye West wants to DM you (and you follow him, but he doesn't follow you back because the only person he follows is Kim), he finally can. I'm sure he has so much to say to you.
    Before, both people had to be following each other in order to have a DM convo. IThis is an indication that the microblogging service is marching into messaging — previously considered a weak spot for Twitter, but clearly big business for companies such as WhatsApp, which boasts hundreds millions of users worldwide.

    Also: Great news for thirsty randos and people who think they have a shot at finally telling Kayne West just what they think of his latest single.

    Go forth and slide, everyone!


    giphy.com


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    12 Wearables That Prove We're Living In The Freakin' Future

    Welcome to the era of the smart bra.
    This anti-sunburn wristband by Sunfriend.


    Doesn't this just look like California...in the 1990s?

    But this wristband by Sunfriend is not just another gimmicky toy, because it won the NASA design contest. The wristband monitors your UV intake and it alerts you when you reached your limit so that you can actually avoid getting a sunburn. And it works for all different skin colors and types.
    Cost: $49.99

    This smart bra that can monitor your heart rate.



    Sensoria makes smart bras that monitor your heart rate, fitness levels, and wellness with sensors that are embedded in the fabric. They also make smart socks (yes, such a thing does exist) and smart tees for guys. But there's a down side. It's only available for purchase outside the United States.
    Cost: $149.00

    These anti-hacker smart jeans that are protected by Norton Antivirus.



    Although digital pickpockets haven't been a huge concern for most people, it is relatively easy for hackers to steal your credit card information with cheap scanning devices or even an iPhone.

    The problem is not widespread at this point, but it could be an issue in the near future. These jeans by Betabrand protect your cards by blocking wireless signals, so the RFID chips become unreadable.
    Cost: $168.00

    These Nike Hyperdrunk shoes that help you become a better basketball player.



    These shoes are paired with sensors that transmit data to your iPhone via Bluetooth. It measures a bunch of things like how many inches you've jumped off the ground and how many times you've jumped so that you can improve your game.
    Nike even has another version—called Nike Hyper Workout—that will tell you what you're doing right or wrong in your workout routines. Sort of like a personal trainer.
    Cost: $74.00



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