The designs for Apple’s new “spaceship” campus in Cupertino have had the tech community excited since they were first released in 2011.
Norman Foster, founder of Foster + Partners, the firm behind the futuristic design, sat down with Architectural Record to provide more details about the forthcoming building.
According to Foster, the circular design of the building will keep employees from ever having to see a car, creating a kind of idyllic California landscape.
They decided on the design after studying enclosed urban spaces, like squares in London, that have small parks in the center.
"These studies finally morphed into a circular building that would enclose the private space in the middle—essentially a park that would replicate the original California landscape, and parts of it would also recapture the orchards of the past," he said to Architectural Record. “The car would visually be banished, and tarmac would be replaced by greenery, and car parks by jogging and bicycle trails.”
Putting the parking lots underground will help contribute to the feeling of being immersed in nature.
“You won’t look out of your window and see row after row of parked cars,” Foster said. “And of course you have the benefit of jogging and cycling trails—more than a thousand bikes will be kept on the site—and also pathways and landscaping connections.”
Foster explained that Steve Jobs was inspired by the large open spaces at Stanford University.
"The reference point for Steve [Jobs] was always the large space on the Stanford campus—the Main Quad—which Steve knew intimately," he said. "Also, he would reminisce about the time when he was young, and California was still the fruit bowl of the United States. It was still orchards."
The virtually car-less campus will certainly be a welcome break for the tech workers braving horrific Silicon Valley traffic every day.
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Controversial mathematician Stephen Wolfram is about to release a programming language with the goal of being able to quickly do just about any calculation or visualization on just about any kind of data a person could want.
Wolfram, creator of the widely used mathematical software Mathematica and the “computational knowledge engine” Wolfram|Alpha, has announced the forthcoming release of the Wolfram Language, the underlying programming language powering those two pieces of software.
Wolfram describes and demos the language in a video posted late last month:
The language release aims to combine a vast array of computational and visualization algorithms at the heart of Mathematica with the databases and natural language processing that power Wolfram Alpha. As Wolfram puts it, it is intended to be a “knowledge-based programming language”.
The language also aims to be flexible enough for either complete beginners or expert developers to be able to quickly create programs to analyze data and solve problems.
The algorithms implemented by the language vary from mathematical functions like algebraic expansions and derivatives to financial computations like finding the future value of an investment, to many more.
These algorithms are coupled with databases curated by Wolfram Research including financial data, socioeconomic statistics, and various facts about people and places.
The language also is set to have some impressive data visualization methods included as well. To the left is an image from the video, showing the web of hyperlinks connected to Wolfram’s home page, as visualized by the language.
Wolfram has described the language as “knowing things about the world”, and this kind of statement has stirred up some controversy. David Auerbach at Slate questions whether or not the incorporation of a huge data base of algorithms and real-world data actually makes a language closer to understanding the world in the way a human does.
This gets into a debate over the nature of artificial and human intelligence that has gone on since at least the beginning of the computer era.
Whether or not the Wolfram Language represents a leap forward in the development of AI, it will probably be an excellent tool for anyone interested in computation and data, just as Mathematica and Wolfram|Alpha have been and continue to be.
Staples is trying to reverse years of declining sales by becoming more like Amazon.
The retailer has been a leading global distributor of office supplies for decades, but its same-store sales have declined or remained flat for seven consecutive years now.
Here’s how Staples is planning to turn its business around:
1. The company is closing stores. In the face of declining store traffic, Staples says it will close 225 stores in North America by the end of 2015. The closures amount to about 12% of its more than 1,800 stores in North America. The move is expected to save the company $500 million as more and more people are shopping online.
“Our customers are using less office supplies, shopping less often in our stores and more online, and the focus on value has made the marketplace even more competitive,” Ronald L. Sargent, Staples’s chairman and chief executive, said on a call with analysts last week.
2. Staples is driving a massive expansion online. While Staples’ physical stores are losing money, the company’s online sales are surging. Specifically, Staples’ same-store sales fell by 7% in the fourth quarter ending Feb. 1, while online sales grew by 10%. Staples.com now accounts for half of the company’s total sales.
The retailer has been driving its online growth by expanding its Staples.com inventory five-fold over the last year to 500,000 products. Sargent said the company will continue adding thousands of products every day and expects to triple inventory to 1.5 million products by the end of this year.
The expansion includes new categories for Staples, such as industrial products for restaurants and retail stores as well as household items like coffee.
"We’re increasing our investments to drive growth online and in categories beyond office supplies [while] aggressively reducing square footage in our retail store network," Staples Chief Financial Officer Christine Komola told analysts.
3. Staples is reinventing its brand. The company has changed its logo and launched a new advertising campaign to transform its image from a paper and printer supplies store to an “everything” store as competition grows from mass merchants like Amazon and Wal-Mart.
The campaign’s tagline is “Make More Happen, and the new logo replaces the staple-shaped “L” in “Staples” with items of furniture, stepladders, water bottles, and other products to show that the store offers more than just office supplies.
For example, a rubber boot replaces the staple in this ad:
There has been a tectonic shift in the smartphone industry away from the U.S. and Europe.
This year will complete that shift.
Asian and Latin American countries will account for half of the top 10 smartphone markets globally.
As the battle for smartphone market share moves to these massive emerging markets, the way smartphones are manufactured and marketed is fundamentally changing. Price is becoming the critical selling point, while innovation could slow down significantly.
In a recent report from BI Intelligence, we assess the new smartphone market to understand which markets will drive growth going forward, and what this will mean for manufacturers and developers. We look at how much of a decline we can expect to see in the average selling price of smartphones, and where innovation will come from in the future, as competing on price becomes foremost for OEMs.
Here are some of the key facts on the global smartphone market:
In full, the report:
If there’s one thing that Android users have held over iPhone-toting longer than anything else it’s the lack of customization options built into iOS.
Thankfully, Apple is starting to move in that direction for those inclined to tuning their computing environment.
In the latest version of iOS, you can change quite a bit about your phone: the size of fonts, the look of buttons, and even the extent to which iOS uses fancy motion blur effects.
But the coolest features in iOS are hidden in the same location used for “accessibility” settings — making it easier for those without the best sight, hearing, or motor functions to still use iOS to its fullest capabilities.
One of the awesome buried gems in iOS is known as “Switch Control.” It lets you create custom switches to perform functions on the phone that would normally be done with your hands using the iPhone’s camera, like multitasking by tilting your head instead of double-tapping the home button. We’ve put together the following guide so that you can create your own custom switches on your iPhone in seconds.
A job posting for a front-end ad engineer hints that Pinterest is looking to start rolling out advertising more aggressively in the near future.
Last fall, Pinterest started experimenting with “Promoted Pins,” but it seems like this might be taking that idea a step further, whether that means ramping up its efforts or changing the advertising format.
Ads on Pinterest make a lot of sense, because brands have already started swarming the site. In general, Pinterest is a product- and image-driven environment where brands are embraced, and it has already proved that it powers a huge amount of social commerce.
We’re assuming that if Pinterest did start running more ads, it would, like Instagram, put a lot of effort into making sure that those ads fit its image and looked great. (For contrast, we’ve all seen how ugly Facebook advertising can be.)
We reached out to Pinterest and got the following: "We started experimenting in October and we’re actively growing our team, but we don’t have any other details to share."
Here’s the ad:
Here’s a cool tweet from Marc Andreessen about the launch of the original iPad.
He says that he met with a top officer at Apple just before it announced the iPad. This officer didn’t really know what to do with the iPad:
@BenedictEvans I met with a top Apple technical official right before the launch. His best use case was watching Hulu while cleaning garage.— Marc Andreessen (@pmarca) March 9, 2014
Andreessen was responding to a tweet from Benedict Evans, who said that new products go through a period of “utility discovery” where people try to figure out what they’re supposed to be used for. Evans is predicting the same thing for an iWatch whenever that happens. (Both Evans and Andreessen are a part of VC firm Andreessen Horowitz.)
It’s cool to see that top executives at Apple weren’t entirely sure how the iPad would be used. They knew they had something great on their hands, but it was unclear how people would use it.
There are at least four Bitcoin ATMs in operation at SXSW this year — one at a bar, one at a coffee shop, one at a gun certification school, and a final one that will be pretty much everywhere else as it rolls around on wheels:
Meet the Robocoin Rover, pictured in its trailer above. The trailer houses a Robocoin ATM that will enable SXSW-goers to turn cash into Bitcoin and vice-versa. (While Robocoin manufactures the devices, they are independently owned and operated. This particular one is managed by Coinvault ATM.)
"Software is eating the world," as venture capitalist Marc Andreessen famously said.
He means everything from your automobile to your thermostat is now being run by software. And that means the people that write software are in high demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts there will be nearly 140,000 new software development jobs created before 2022, reports US News, which named “software developer” as the best job in 2014.
Consequently, companies looking to hire software developers often have to think outside the box to lure them away from their existing jobs, find a new survey of 1,400 full-time employed software engineers conducted by job hunting site Glassdoor.
Here’s what developers say it takes to hire them away:
1. They don’t want to be contacted through LinkedIn.
Programmers are getting bombarded by recruiters on LinkedIn. The smartest companies are searching for programmers via sites where programmers share their work and work histories like GitHub and StackOverflow.
One told Glassdoor:
"I canceled my LinkedIn account because I was getting bombarded by recruiters. Now they have to find me through my blog, GitHub or StackOverflow accounts. Those recruiters that reach me now are more worth my time.”
2. They want a lot of money.
Obviously, this is a job. So a great salary, bonus and benefits are still major carrots. 78% of respondents said they would leave their current employer if they were offered more compensation or better benefits.
In 2013, salaries for software programmers reached record levels. The average salary nationwide for a software engineer is $90,000, according to recruiting site Indeed.
But in the hottest fields, especially in Silicon Valley, it is way higher, base salaries of $140,000 - $160,000 with bonuses and stock options are common.
3. They want to have fun.
When enough money is being offered, programmers say they will take a new job based on a company’s culture. Is it a fun place to work with great perks?
Some 52% of software engineers would even accept less money to work at a company with great culture.
4. They want to work on cool and interesting products and services.
Almost as many programmers, 51%, said they would accept less money to work at a company if it was building a particularly interesting product or service.
One told Glassdoor:
“If your company isn’t attractive on its own because of its technology and engineering culture, I probably won’t be interested in working there. Hearing about you from a recruiter — rather than because of something amazing you’ve built — simply cements that disinterest.”
This infographic offers more details:
Smartwatch startup Pebble just kicked off its first-ever app developer challenge.
Starting today, developers have two weeks to submit new or existing apps for the Pebble app store via ChallengePost.
Later this month, voting opens up to the public to pick the top 16 apps that are organized into a March Madness-like bracket. Once the public votes on the top 16, Pebble users choose the winner of each seed.
The winning app developer will receive $5,000. The top 16 developers each receive a Pebble Steel.
A few of our favorite app offerings so far are Tiny Bird for getting a quick Flappy Bird fix on your watch, and 7-Minute Workout for breaking a sweat.
But we’d really love to see a Pebble app that notifies you when you’re getting too far away from your iPhone.
When not running apps, the Pebble lets you view incoming tweets, emails and text messages right from your wrist.
Pebble first gained attention back in 2012 when it raised more than $10.2 million on Kickstarter from almost 69,000 people. Last May, Pebble raised a $15 million Series A round led by Charles River Ventures.
If you find yourself locked out of your Facebook account — say, you’re a victim of being hacked — you can get back in with just a little help from your friends.
"Trusted Contacts" provides friends with passcodes that will let you access your account quickly and efficiently.
This is useful because hackers can access your account and change your log-in information that prevents Facebook from emailing you temporary passwords. Your friends will essentially be able to provide “spare keys” to your account.
Here’s how you use it.
Apple just released iOS 7.1, the latest major update to the operating system that powers the iPhone and iPad lineups.
You should update you iDevice now, as 7.1 one brings a number of improvements to the controversial design of iOS 7, and also fixes a number of annoying bugs.
To update, plug in your iPhone, make sure Wi-Fi is turned on, and then head to Settings -> General -> Software Update.
As we illustrated in January, iOS 7.1 brings a number of options to the look of Apple’s mobile interface.
You’ll be able to significantly change the size of system fonts, change the look of certain buttons and switches throughout the OS, and have finer control over the transparency and zooming effects that some people have found irritating in iOS 7.
There’s also a number of fixes specifically for iPhone 5S users. Some people have found that updating to iOS 7.0.6 significantly increased battery drain on the 5S; 7.1 fixes that issue.
Others have found that Touch ID’s ability to recognize fingerprints on the first try degraded over time under iOS 7.0.x. Noted Apple blogger John Gruber has been using the iOS 7.1 beta for some time, and he has found that, if anything, it works too quickly now:
The biggest issue in iOS 7 has been the so-called “white screen of death,” which causes many users’ devices to crash on a too-frequent basis. It’s been rumored since early February that iOS 7 will fix that issue as well — from personal experience and feedback from others using the iOS 7.1 beta for the last several weeks, it does some to be far more stable than iOS 7.0.x in regular usage.
For those with access to a vehicle capable of using CarPlay — which won’t be many people, considering it’s only now being released in new cars — that feature will now be available as well.
The Russian-Ukrainian cyber war could be “far more serious and damaging” than any actions taken involving the annexation of Crimea, according to computer security and forensics expert Darren Hayes.
““Social media, government administrations and national defense systems all rely on Internet communications,” Hayes wrote in a statement to Business Insider. ”Cyber-attacks will continue to be largely silent but potentially devastating during this conflict and could prove to be more decisive than trade sanctions or armed maneuvers.”
The cyberattacks between the two countries started off relatively innocuously as a battle for “hearts and minds,” as hackers from the two countries defaced and targeted opposing media channels and websites.
On Saturday, stakes rose sharply after Russian hackers targeted Ukraine’s Security and Defense Council with a denial-of-service attack that crippled many computers and brought down networks.
Both Russia and Ukraine have substantial hacking resources at their disposal.
"Groups like the Russian Business Network have some of the best hackers in the world. They are highly-organized, well financed and remain unchallenged by Russian authorities," Hayes said.
Meanwhile, Anonymous Ukraine has published a listing of around three dozen Russian government email addresses, along with the names of about 1,400 former Berkut members.
Continued attacks from either party could lead to a crippling of financial sectors, interruption of telecommunication networks, or even a disruption of utility services in extreme cases.
“Many are wondering whether the current standoff in Crimea could lead to war between the Ukraine and Russia. The fact is that a cyberwar has already begun,” Hayes said.
Russia has a history of using cyberwarfare. In 2007 Russia subjected Estonia to 10 days of intense denial-of-service attacks that brought down its financial sector after a disagreement between the two countries over the moving of a Soviet war memorial.
In 2008 cyber-attacks were used to bring down Georgia’s defense network prior to the Russian invasion.
“The recent reports about malware infecting critical networks in Ukraine and the hacking of cellphones and email accounts of senior politicians from the European Union and Ukraine are reminiscent of the Russia-Georgia conflict over Ossetia,” Hayes said.
Russia has denied responsibility for the attacks in Estonia and Georgia, and it can continue to shift blame to third-party ‘patriotic’ hackers.
There’s no shortage of dating apps, and a lot of that is thanks to Sway CEO Adam Huie — he’s currently working on his third dating app.
All of Huie’s apps — Let’s Meet, Sway, and his new one, Tryst — use a similar anonymous matching interface in which couples can only find out more about each other if they both agree to do so.
Sway just partnered with Bravo TV and its new show “Online Dating Rituals of the American Male.” Sway specifically created a new dating app called Tryst for the show.
With the Sway app, daters anonymously share an interest in each other. If there’s a match, Sway lets you chat.
Tryst supposedly makes it even easier to “meet the right people quickly.”
Here’s an email Sway sent to its users last night:
We’ve noticed you’ve been busy doing other things besides using Sway…Well, we’ve been busy too! We’ve partnered with Bravo TV and their new show ‘Online Dating Rituals of the American Male’. For the show, we created a new app called TRYST, which helps you meet the right people (even more) quickly. As an exclusive to Sway users, we are releasing the app the cast used ahead of Tonights premiere. Use this link now to download TRYST For free.
Tryst is now at least the fourth dating app Huie has been involved with.
Previously, Huie co-founded Hatch Labs, the mobile incubator that launched Tinder. In June of last year, Huie became CEO of dating startup Let’s Date. Next thing we knew, an eerily similar app called Sway popped up on our radar.
Well, as it turns out, Huie left Let’s Date for Sway, he informed Business Insider via email last month. In fact, Sway is essentially Let’s Date with a different name and a slightly tweaked user interface.
When we opened up Let’s Date, we received a notification that the Let’s Date experience is ending soon. The app encouraged us to download Sway.
Whether Sway will eventually fold into Tryst remains to be seen. Business Insider has reached out to Huie to figure out just exactly what is going on.
After listening to him point out the various flaws in “Gravity,” we asked famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson for survival tips on being lost in space.
His response? A resounding “NO.”
"Space is supremely hostile to life," Tyson remarked.
The StarTalk host then dives further into the hostility of space by rifling off the different ways a lost human being could easily die in space.
Produced by Kamelia Angelova, William Wei, & Alana Kakoyiannis
StarTalk Radio is a podcast and radio program hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, where comic co-hosts, guest celebrities and scientists discuss astronomy, physics, and everything else about life in the universe. Follow StarTalk Radio on Twitter, and watch StarTalk Radio "Behind the Scenes" on YouTube.
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