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Meet Astro The Home Robot

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Looks like we’re closer to a real-life Rosie the Robot. Amazon is launching its first household robot, Astro, to a select audience. Powered by smart home technology, Astro patrols your home like an adorable little security guard. You have the option to remote control it when you’re away, and it will send you a notification if it spots something suspicious. 

Astro is a bold move by Amazon, but a logical step given its expertise in robots and desire to become more integrated into consumers’ daily lives.” – Ben Wood, chief analyst at CCS Insight. 

Rosie the Robot and WALL-E Rolled Into One Astro

This real-life WALL-E (but clean) is Amazon’s first step into the home robot market we will likely see in the coming years. Astro’s features are simple but very cool. It has a periscope camera that pops from its head, and can be set with “out of bounds” or “do not disturb” features. 

Astro can even beatbox on command if you so choose. Frankly, if it could sing “Model of a Modern Major General” in perfect pitch, that would be more impressive than the overdone and dry beatboxing we’ve been bombarded with by tech companies trying to be all hip and cool. 

Beatboxing is only impressive when a human does it. It’s not impressive when a robot does it. Please stop it. It’s enough. 

Anyway…

Another feature of Astro is one such innovation last seen on riding mowers: a cupholder. Now, you can put drinks in Astro’s back so it can deliver it to someone in the other room. Because we don’t want to, you know, have to get up to grab a drink. 

Take that, Michelle Obama with your “Let’s Move!” campaign. 

A Spicy Little Pepperbot

This is not the first time a household robot has been introduced to the market. Remember Pepper? It’s like that but less creepy and potentially a success. 

What kind of name is “Pepper” for a robot anyway? Unless she’s got a “spicy” attitude, she has no business being named Pepper. 

The cupholder compartment can do more than just hold cups. It can also hold… want to take a guess? 

That’s right! A blood pressure monitor!

Huh, you ask? That’s random? Sure it is, but before you let me continue being snarky, that’s actually a great idea. For the elderly or enfeebled, a robot that can track a loved one’s blood pressure is critical for proper care. That neat feature, combined with the remote control and video chat features makes for a constructive innovation as we develop new ways to care for homebound folks. 

Astro’s Limitations

There are, however, things Astro cannot do. It cannot lift or grab things, because it has no arms. Astro cannot climb stairs, because it only has three wheels. It cannot take over the world, presumably because it hasn’t developed the will … yet. 

Astro is currently priced at $999.99 for those super special exclusive customers. After that sale, the price will jump to a healthy $1,449.99. So, you better hope Amazon thinks you’re cool enough to invite you to buy their robot. They don’t want to face the embarrassment of the Amazon Fire Phone.

Remember that? Of course you don’t. Nobody does. Because nobody bought them. 

Astro is a pretty cool innovation to come out of Amazon. Echo turned out to be pretty popular, and Astro seems pretty in line with those developments. Frankly, the more robots we have around doing things for us while looking cute, the cooler our world might be. 

Or it might all be destroyed in nuclear fire. Only time will tell. First things first…
Alexa! Get me an invitation to buy an Astro!

Chris Blondell is a Philadelphia-based writer and social media strategist with a current focus on tech industry news. He has written about startups and entrepreneurs based in Denver, Seattle, Chicago, New Haven, and more. He has also written content for a true-crime blog, Sword and Scale, and developed social media content for a local spice shop. An occasional comedian, Chris Blondell also spends his time writing humorous content and performing stand-up for local audiences.

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Business

OpenStudio – Business Management All-In-One

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We all need a service that makes business easier, right? Managing your team, your finances, your documents, and your customers can be an arduous juggle. There are a few services out there that help businesses manage all of this. But have you heard of OpenStudio? No? Well, allow us to make a proper introduction. 

OpenStudio helps you centralize all the applications and services you may need in order to run a business. 

Some of the top features offered by OpenStudio are necessary in order to run a business but haven’t necessarily been rolled into one package. Things like IT Protocol/Document Management create a shared workspace to save your important documents for future consultation. 

Or perhaps you may find the Permissions and Authorization Management feature useful. You can decide which permissions and applications every member can access. 

OpenStudio offers the following services: 

  • Surveys
  • Content Management
  • Task Management
  • Ticketing
  • Alerts
  • Document Management
  • File Sharing

There are other similar services, but none of them are as neatly packaged and formatted as OpenStudio. Running a business doesn’t have to be complicated. All you need should be at your fingertips. A custom environment to manage your team, your finance, your documents, and your customers? Sign us up.

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Archbee Is Here To Centralize Your Company Data

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If you could describe Archbee in two words they would be: “documentation specialist.”

Founded in 2018 with $1 million in funding. Archbee is a knowledge base platform for technical teams to create, structure, and share documentation internally and to customers. 

The software provides a set of customized tools for software developers. This enables everyone in the business to organize key information and intelligence in a single hub. That’s a benefit of colleagues and customers, both present and future. 

Meet Dragos

In an interview with Forbes, founder and CEO of Archbee, Dragos Bulugean stated: 

We are talking about the knowledge that makes your business what it is. Archbee is meant to be the one-stop-shop for the documentation needs of software companies.”

“Businesses are in a rush to create products, launch them faster, and be the first to market. An important part of creating a product is its catalog or index – in essence, the ‘how to’ guide.’”

“It is this often neglected task that Archbee is making it easier to create. It is not just a product manul but a central knowledge base and the true front of knowledge which is making an impact on commercial metrics – helping improve onboarding time for customers, reducing the number of support tickets and, importantly, making the products understood by users.”

“We’re focused on helping any company that builds software to create collaborative spaces which are accessible to all and easy to use.” 

This long-awaited platform offers editing, document collaboration, Slack integration, file storage, and other related services. These features, in turn, enable engineers to disseminate real-time information about planning on their construction team. 

When you have a software as innovative as Archbee, it frees time up for developers and engineers. That way they’re able to spend more time in “deep-work” mode and solve more challenging problems that require full attention. 

In short, with Archbee, you can centralize all of your information in one place.

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Meet The World With Memrise

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All over the world, around 60-75% of people speak at least one language. People who speak more than one language report improved memory, problem-solving, critical-thinking skills, enhanced concentration, and more. So, if you speak more than one language, you essentially have an improved brain. If you want to join this crowd, Memrise may be the most effective option out there. 

One of the things that had kind of caught my attention was that psychology around how we learn languages.

Ben Whatley, Co-Founder and CPO of Memrise, learned French the way most of us learn a second language. We’re given the rules of the language, the grammar, how to speak properly. But there’s a flaw in that approach. 

I would go to France and I couldn’t speak a word. I wanted to understand why that was.

“That was a light bulb moment.”

The way we’re taught language is from the left brain perspective as opposed to the right. The left brain involves analytics, reading, and writing. The right brain involves creativity. If you need a metaphor to help you out, the left brain is the uptight, brilliant nerd and the right brain is the hippie-dippie artist.

Whenever you’re learning a language, you may often hear that the best way to learn is to immerse yourself in it. If you’re learning Spanish, spend a month in Mexico City. If you’re learning Japanese, take a trip to Tokyo. And so on. The grammatical approach to learning language has its value, but it’s the colloquial experience that truly helps imprint 

Whatley and fellow Oxford classmate, Ed Cooke, founded Memrise in 2010. Cooke, a Grand Master of Memory, had combined his skills with Whatley’s observations and ideas. They conceived of a new method of language learning. One more in line with immersion than grammar. 

We’ve been gradually and daringly evolving the product to bring more and more of the richness of real-world content into the course of our ongoing experience.” 

In 2016, we did a tour around Europe on a double-decker bus to collect a video dictionary of all the European languages. 

“Tens of thousands of short videos of native speakers [speaking] in context.

While other language learning apps like Duolingo or Babbel have computerized voices, Memrise has actual recorded voices.

That kind of got baked into our core algorithm – namely naturalistic accents, idioms, phrases as they’re spoken in the real world, not sort of in the kind of academic sense, but a kind of multi-dimensional learning.” – Cooke

Most everyone really wants when they’re learning a language is they’re learning it to connect with other people, to be able to read what other people mean and to be able to express themselves to other people.” – Whatley

Speaking Spanish to your teacher versus speaking to a coworker is notably different. Your teacher will have you say “poco” to mean “little” when your coworker will make fun of you for sounding too proper. Memrise would teach you that “poquito” is the casual way to say “little.” 

Memrise is disrupting the academic dominance of language learning by focusing more on practice than technique. How many native English speakers do you know that speak perfectly grammatical English? 

Let’s take “you all.” In the south, you’ll here “ya’ll.” But in Pittsburgh, you’ll hear “yinz.” Do you think ESL teachers are noting things like that? Probably not. Memrise, however, does focus on this more casual ways of speaking because they have a stronger understanding of how the human brain functions and how we communicate with one another. 

One interesting feature you’ll find with Memrise but not any other language learning app are Zoom conversations. These are free rooms where you can hop in and speak, say, Spanish with other people. Instead of traveling to Mexico City to immerse yourself in the Spanish language, you can log into Zoom and speak it with other speakers. 

It’s live person to person – it’s not a lesson. It is just about trying to use whatever language skills you’ve got in your in your bag. Just try and get it out there and use it, because that’s what happens when you are actually in a country.” – Whatley

The aspiration is to make it as fun as being in the country.” – Cooke

It’s never too late to learn a language. The pleasure of learning and speaking a new language is immeasurably rewarding. As Memrise says on their site, “learn and language and meet the word.”

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