Google Glass is coming at 100 mph
In 2014, it is said that Google Glass stores will begin popping up and it will no longer be tester geeks roaming the streets with computers on their eyes, no, they are about to go mainstream in a big way, leaving various industries considering how this technology will impact their own practice.
Jessi Hall is a former real estate broker and investment property manager, currently writing about real estate, VA loans and homeownership for Veterans United Home Loans. She offers that that the real estate industry will be tremendously impacted by Google Glass, in fact, changes are already taking place right now. In Hall’s words:
1. Take and share listing photos more easily.
I’ll make a radical statement: Once you share a photo via Google Glass, you’ll never bother waking up your smartphone to snap a pic again. As Google Glass Explorer Sarah Hill has pointed out, it takes more than a dozen clicks to share an image though your smartphone.
With Glass, it’s just a couple of temple clicks.
That simplicity is addictive. Plus, Google Glass photo quality is top-notch (and continues to get better with regular updates). Good photos? Quick photos? Fast sharing to all social media platforms? What more could a listing agent want?
2. Live virtual tours.
If you thought photo sharing was easy through Glass, try live video. Invite a long-distance client to tour a new property through a Google Hangout, the company’s live video tool.
Yes, smart alecks, you CAN conduct a Hangout through your smartphone. But as real estate agents like Melissa Marro mentioned during this recent Google Glass and real estate Hangout, video taken through Glass “gives people a more realistic perspective of a home.”
Think of it this way: Glass is worn over the user’s brow. That one simple characteristic gives viewers a more accurate perspective than a smartphone being waved around the room.
Plus, Google Glass enables hands-free video. Agents can now open a closet door or flick on a light switch at a client’s request without stopping to put down the phone. It’s a seemingly insignificant perk, but agents who experience the ease of Glass simply can’t work any other way.
3. Live contract assistance.
Need to guide your long-distance buyer or seller through a contract or disclosure form? Grab Glass and start a Hangout. Flip through the contract, zoom in on particular sections and answer any questions along the way.
4. Find local services.
Showing property in an unfamiliar neighborhood? One voice command to Glass puts a wealth of local information at your eyeball.
Upon hearing the voice command: “Google restaurants near me”, Glass returns a local map marked with every sushi spot, coffee shop and sandwich counter in the area. The command works with practically any type of service or business, including schools, senior centers, parks or shopping centers.
5. Easy video chats with other housing professionals.
In the hands of other real estate professionals, Google Glass could be a godsend. A home inspector with Google Glass could clamber up a ladder and explain to a buyer via Hangout why roof replacement is critical. A contractor could crawl along the foundation to point out potential leak sources.
Real estate agent and Google Glass explorer Alex Mosquera had the same thought when selling a short sale in need of repair. He recently lent Glass to a contractor so the lien-holder could understand the extent of the damage.
“The contractor explained the scope of the problem via Glass,” Mosquera said. “That way the lien-holder could see first-hand why the repairs were needed.”
Real estate agents are already theorizing about the potential for a Google Glass safety app. “I see having an app where I can say ‘track me’,” said agent and software developer Chad LaFarge. “As I walk into a house, I have a gesture I can do that throws an alarm. That would either send a message to my broker or phone E911, and it marks my GPS coordinates every 30 seconds.”
It’s the perfect time for a new safety mechanism. The number of nonfatal assaults continues to increase in the real estate, rental and leasing industry, jumping from 170 in 2008 to 940 in 2010.
Could a Glass safety app have prevented at least one of those assaults?
7. Instant (yet discreet) notifications.
Out with a client, but anxiously awaiting a seller’s response to an offer? Glass provides instant (yet discreet) text, email and social media notifications.
It’s an easier (and much more polite) way to stay on top of your business than checking your phone every six seconds.
8. Buyer-friendly house hunting apps.
Glass also has benefits for potential home buyers. Real estate powerhouse Trulia is developing a house-hunting Glass app, which sends housing alerts to potential buyers. With a few temple swipes, Glass users can flip through listing photos, get directions to a home, hear a description or contact a real estate agent directly.
9. Be more competitive.
Real estate is a competitive field. Could Glass be the tool that distinguishes you as a forward-thinking, tech-savvy, top-notch real estate agent?
“The Realtors in my area, with markets coming up as they have been, they’ve been doing everything they can to become more competitive,” said LaFarge. “They want to get out there and get the business. One of the things that’s going to help them get the business is having the technology to do what someone else isn’t doing.”
Let’s face it: Glass is just plain COOL. It’s tough for a potential client not to be impressed by an agent with that sort of technology at their fingertips (or brow).
10. Who knows?
I’ll reiterate: Glass is just plain COOL. But the true potential of Glass is somewhat unknown at this point. Much of the device’s impact on real estate lies in the hands of “Glassware” app developers. Consider the possibilities tossed around by Hangout panelists Joshua Berg and LaFarge:
- An app for appraisers with “speak to text” abilities
- An app that provides live neighborhood details, sales prices and market information as you move through an area
- An app designed to provide in-depth details to buyers as they tour a home (e.g. “carpet updated in 2011,” “exterior painted in 2010”)
Will Glass be the next “telegraph”? The next home computer? The next cell phone? Where exactly will software engineers take Google Glass? At this point, we’re not sure.
But we’ll certainly be along for the ride.
Why Google’s Deep Dream project is more than just a trippy tricky
A programmer discovered that even while asleep, your computers dream, and the imagery is amazingly bizarre and sometimes creepy. What are the implications of this? Is it more than just a cool trick?
Dreaming deep, sound asleep
As machines become increasingly intelligent, they are also becoming more artistic.
Google’s Deep Dream is making a huge splash on the web. It was originally coded by Alexander Mordvintsev, a programmer working in security systems who liked to play around with artificial intelligence as a side project. In the middle of the night last May, he discovered the lines of code that would cause Google’s neural net to generate original images that look like a psychedelic combination of Salvador Dalí and Lisa Frank. He posted his images on Google’s internal Google + account, and was soon paired with young programmer Chris Olah and software engineer/sculptor Mike Tyka to develop Deep Dream.
REM for your RAM
The Deep Dream team has created an entire gallery of surrealistic art. Animal parts of different species combine to form fantastical beasts, backgrounds fill with swirling patterns, and spiders emerge from cloudless skies.
In July, the Deep Dream team released the software on GitHub so that the general public could turn their family portraits and vacation photos into bizarre art pieces. New apps are popping up, several grotesque portraits of presidential candidates have been produced, and the band Wilco used a Deep Dream image on the cover of its latest album. Samim Winiger, who created software that makes animations from Deep Dream images, says that “in five years we won’t recognize Photoshop,” alluding to the possibility for Deep Dream technology to become a major feature in our visual world.
But is there more to it?
Winiger refers to Deep Dream as “creative AI [artificial intelligence].” But can a computer be said to have creativity? The dreamlike (or, at times, nightmarish) quality of Deep Dream images has certainly caused some observers to posit that Deep Dream is pulling images from the “subconscious” of Google’s mind. But a computer, no matter how smart, is not a brain. So is Deep Dream just the robot equivalent of a cool party trick?
Deep learning in the neural net
But Deep Dream wasn’t created just to blow our minds with freakish four-eyed kittens and giant tarantulas crawling from the sky. It’s also a useful way for programmers to study artificial intelligence. Computers can now achieve what programmers call “deep learning” by processing information through a neural net (NN). Neural nets are meshes of artificial neurons layered one over the other, like spider webs. Information is passed through several layers of the NN, and each layer analyzes it from a different angle. The topmost layer is responsible for the output of information that has been “learned” by deeper layers of the net.
Google has made great strides towards teaching its neural net to visually recognize objects by having it produce an image of whatever it’s viewing, which is then graded for accuracy and fed back into the computer, giving the NN an opportunity to learn from its mistakes and eventually come to automatically correct itself.
Layered learning, and pattern detecting
So far, it has been hard for researchers to really know for sure what is happening at each layer of the neural net. But a researcher can have a computer produce a Deep Dream image from a specific layer of its neural net, thus revealing exactly what that layer is learning. In this way, researchers are discovering more about what happens inside an artificial mind.
What researchers have found is that computers may have higher perception and better pattern-recognition than humans. It’s like having a highly imaginative child watch clouds. If a cloud looks a little bit like a ship, the neural net will run the image through a feedback loop until a highly detailed ship emerges. This is why Deep Dream is able to create images even out of random noise – it can detect patterns that a human wouldn’t even notice.
This has far-reaching implications for how artificial intelligence may eventually replace humans. For example, researchers are using neural nets to read ultrasounds, detecting tumors invisible to the human eye.
So, is artificial intelligence becoming creative? Is a computer an artist? That depends on how you define creativity, and where you draw the line between the “real” and the “artificial.” But Deep Dream engineer Mike Tyka is impressed: “If you think about human creativity, some small component of that is the ability to take impressions and recombine them in interesting, unexpected ways,” – the same ability Deep Dream displays.
Regardless of whether or not this is true “creativity,” the world seems to agree with Tyka that when you let a computer come up with original art, “it’s cool.”
Steven Levy was granted the first interview with the Deep Dream team. You can read his report at Medium.com.
Angee is a customizable, livestreaming home security system. Why don’t you have it yet?
The newest in home security, Angee syncs with your smart phone in 30 seconds, rotates 360 degrees and can be turned off at the sound of your voice.
360 degrees of security
When it comes to home safety, it’s important to stay up-to-date and as current as possible, especially when home security systems are involved. Thanks to technology, new and improved smart alarm systems like Piper, Nest Cam, and Canary are readily available to the consumer. The newest member to this tech security family is Angee, and she is a far cry from the security systems of yesteryear.
Angee is “the only smart home security system to provide full perimeter security with a portable, 360° rotating camera, not to mention voice-controlled home connectivity and personal assistance,” said Max Rattner, VP of Sales & Brand Development for Angee.
Rather than using the traditional means of home security, Angee uses boosted bluetooth technology to create a geofence for your home by using security tags that are placed anywhere you want them.
Shuts down completely in privacy mode
Controlled by your smartphone, Angee arms your home once you have left the premises. However, she can be set to switch to privacy mode while you are home and Angee will literally turn to the wall and turn off her camera while the family is home and safe.
An interesting feature for Angee is her voice identification system. She stores all of your family member’s names and voices and when you enter your own home, just let her know it’s you! She will verify your voice and not sound the alarm. No need to enter a code on a keypad every time you’re coming and going.
See the weird things your cat does while you’re working
Angee powers herself off a 3600mAh battery, which has an 8 hour battery life of live streaming video you can literally watch on your phone, tablet, or smartwatch when you get bored at work. She also holds one hour of HD quality video, or several more hours if you’re willing to burn your eyes by staring at SD video.
The fact that you can keep an eye on your home via live streaming differentiates Angee enough from traditional home security systems. But to make this new system even more modern, Angee also manages your home’s other smart devices such as the thermostat, TV, and lights. Angee also has 1.5 Gb of local storage and 1 Gb of free cloud storage. In addition, Angee requires no traditional installation and the Angee team is extremely proud of how easy it is to set the security system up with your personal smart phone. The team claims syncing the system with your phone will only take around 30 seconds.
One-time payment for full-time security
Another great feature to this new, modernized home security system is that there are no monthly fees. As the company grows, subscription plans will become available as needed, but for now Angee feels that the smart triggers and video loops do more than enough. Angee is perfect to use in apartments and small spaces, and you can easily get away with only purchasing Angee and one sensor for the main door. If you live in a larger home and want to monitor multiple rooms via your smart phone, purchase Angee and a three pack of sensors to place around the perimeter of the house.
Home security systems can’t get any easier than this.
Frustrated with Windows 10? How to roll back your upgrade
With the release of Windows 10, many users expected faster speeds and better service, but some aren’t seeing these results. Here’s what you can do about it.
Windows 10 rolled out to mixed reviews
With the release of Windows 10, many users expected faster speeds and better service. While some users may love the new Windows and find this to be true, others are less than satisfied. Windows 10 has received numerous complaints of keystroke logging, listening in on your conversations, and stealing your bandwidth. This makes for less than happy Windows 10 users.
Microsoft has denied that they are logging everything you do while using Windows, but, the Preview version explicitly stated, “we (Microsoft) may collect typed characters and use them for purposes such as improving autocomplete and spellcheck features.” One imgur user is hopping with users debating the usefulness and privacy perils of Windows; some users are making valid points. While this is not exactly the security-conscious Windows some users were expecting, keep in mind that Windows 10 is a desktop and cloud operating system.
This means you’re sharing more information than you were previously accustomed to. Every cloud -based system uses keystroke information to improve their software, even if you weren’t aware of it.
Now, head on over to your Settings
If you’d like to lockdown Windows 10, head over to Settings, then Privacy. Here you’ll find thirteen different privacy settings that you can customize as you see fit. The major settings will be found under the “General” tab. This is a good place to see what you have control of and what you can adjust. However, if you would prefer to revert back to a previous version of Windows, you can do that as well.
Before you do any of the steps listed below, please ensure your information is backed up, just in case you lose information in the transition. When you installed Windows 10 on your PC, the old version stayed on your machine in a “Windows.old” folder. This is what will allow you to revert back to a previous version, without too many problems.
Revert from a laptop or a desktop
To get started, click on the Windows Start menu and access Settings. From there, click Update, then Security > Recovery. From here, you’ll see an option to “go back to Windows 8.1” or “Go back to Windows 7,” depending on from which version you upgraded. Once you’ve selected the “go back” option, you’ll click “get started” and this will begin the downgrade process.
One thing to note, if you’re trying to revert from a laptop, you’ll need to be plugged in to the wall, or the process will not work. If you change your mind along the way, you’ll have several chances to cancel, but if you follow through the process, you should have your previous version of Windows in around ten minutes.
If you’re unhappy with Windows 10, at least you have options to customize it to your needs. From tweaking your privacy settings to reverting to a previous version, there is no one-size-fits all solution. Are you keeping Windows 10, or are you planning to revert to a previous version?
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