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Dominos and Ford are teaming up to give new meaning to pizza delivery

(BUSINESS NEWS) Dominos had teamed up with Ford to figure out how to deliver pizzas sans drivers.

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DREAMS DO COME TRUE

How many times have I sent whiny Snapchats begging my friends to magically make pizza appear in my room? Trick question, too many to count. Now with my half-baked The Secret-powered wishful thinking effort, I present to you a dream team: Ford + Domino’s Pizza. You’re welcome.

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Ford’s self-driving project is teaming up with Domino’s pizza to pilot an autonomous pizza delivery program in Michigan. Yes, you’ll still have to get off the couch. You will also probably have to put on pants. Sorry, I’m only a wizard in D&D. I haven’t worked out how to get a Spy Kids style microwave for instant pizza delivery yet.

AUTONOMOUS PIZZA FOR DUMMIES

Ford is providing a self-driving Fusion from its trial fleet for the initial delivery trials. The vehicle is white, and clearly marked “self-driving” and “autonomous” in giant black letters. It navigates using cameras and lidar, a radar based on laser beams, housed in a unit on the roof of the car.

Images of the road and surrounding areas are instantly collected and compared with detailed digital maps, ensuring the car knows the journey and destination. The pilot expedition was scheduled to take place on Monday, but the car’s electronics can’t function in heavy rain.

PLAYING WITH FOOD

“It’s going to be a real learning experience,” said Dennis Malloney, Domino’s chief digital officer. He offered some more reassuring words to the public, stating, “No one really knows what’s going to happen when customers walk out to the car. They’re faced with a car. There’s no human interaction. What happens if they approach the car from the wrong direction? Will people mind coming out of their house? We want to understand all that.”

There won’t be a complete lack of human interaction, though.

Each car in the program will have a “safety driver” in the driver’s seat, a Ford engineer on the passenger side, and a Domino’s employee in the back to monitor customer responses. Essentially a car full of people will be staring down confused customers during this trial period, which is essentially a sociology experiment wrapped in a tech test run.

TAKE A LITTLE PIZZA MY HEART

Customers will receive a text alert when the pizza is close, and another when the delivery arrives. The recipient will then be asked to trust a red arrow on the rear passenger side door reading, “start here.” After entering the last four digits of their phone number onto a touch screen, the window opens, revealing a secret insulated pizza compartment.

So yes, you do have to leave the house. But you don’t have to tip the car. Before you cry robots stealing jobs, Domino’s senior VP of e-commerce development Kelly Garcia emphasized, “we will have drivers for a long time. This is not about reducing labor costs.” Instead he explains autonomous cars could be used to fill gaps when there’s a shortage of driver or surges in orders.

NEXT STEPS

“We think there’s a very good business,” stated Sherif Marakby, Ford’s VP of Autonomous Vehicles and Electrification. Although Ford has lagged behind its competitors in the autonomous vehicle game, Marakby said using completely driverless cars for deliveries likely “will take off in 2021.”

By then Ford plans on manufacturing completely driverless cars with no steering wheel or pedals. In the meantime, randomly selected customers in Ann Arbor, Michigan will be the only ones experiencing this self-driving pizza experiment. Here’s to hoping the project expands so we can all experience the joy of pizza and being stared at by strangers in a car pretending you aren’t there.

#DrivingPIZZA

Lindsay is an editor for The American Genius with a Communication Studies degree and English minor from Southwestern University. Lindsay is interested in social interactions across and through various media, particularly television, and will gladly hyper-analyze cartoons and comics with anyone, cats included.

Tech News

Daily Coding Problem keeps you sharp for coding interviews

(CAREER) Coding interviews can be pretty intimidating, no matter your skill level, so stay sharp with daily practice leading up to your big day.

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Whether you’re in the market for a new coding job or just want to stay sharp in the one you have, it’s always important to do a skills check-up on the proficiencies you need for your job. Enter Daily Coding Problem, a mailing list service that sends you one coding problem per day (hence the name) to keep your analytical skills in top form.

One of the founders of the service, Lawrence Wu, stated that the email list service started “as a simple mailing list between me and my friends while we were prepping for coding interviews [because] just doing a couple problems every day was the best way to practice.”

Now the service offers this help for others who are practicing for interviews or for individuals needing to just stay fresh in what they do. The problems are written by individuals who are not just experts, but also who aced their interviews with giants like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft.

So how much would a service like this cost you? Free, but with further tiers of features for additional money. Like with all tech startups, the first level offers the basic features such as a single problem every day with some tricks and hints, as well as a public blog with additional support for interviewees. However, if you want the actual answer to the problem, and not just the announcement that you incorrectly answered it, you’ll need to pony up $15 per month.

The $15 level also comes with some neat features such as mock interview opportunities, no ads, and a 30 day money back guarantee. For those who may be on the job market longer, or who just want the practice for their current job, the $250 level offers unlimited mock interviews, as well as personal guidance by the founders of the company themselves.

Daily Coding Problem enters a field with some big players with a firm grasp on the market. Other services, like InterviewCake, LeetCode, and InterviewBit, offer similar opportunities to practice mock interview questions. InterviewCake offers the ability to sort questions by the company who typically asks them for that individual with their sights targeted on a specific company. InterviewBit offers referrals and mentorship opportunities, while LeetCode allows users to submit their own questions to the question pool.

If you’ve really got your eye on the prize of receiving that coveted job opportunity, Daily Coding Problem is a great way to add another tool in your tool box to ace that interview.

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Tech News

Making Slack actionable makes you productive

(TECHNOLOGY) Slack is an amazing productivity tool, but of course can add more to your plate – this feature puts you back on track.

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You know when you’re using Slack and you’re having a conversation with your teammate about whether or not you should grab lunch or go to Soul Cycle, but before you can answer, your editor Slacks you about deadlines and your design partner messages you proofs and suddenly you snap back to reality and remember that you’ve been working on a blog post for an hour and your concentration is completely shattered? You know, the exact moment when your productivity is officially derailed?

Well, Slack now offers Actions to help make sure that doesn’t happen. Your day may get busy, but at least nothing will slip through the cracks, work-wise.

Integrated with project management tools like Asana, Zendesk, and Jira, Actions allows users to create and comment on tasks, tickets or issues within conversations. That means no clicking through tabs or apps until you can no longer remember why you started clicking in the first place. More importantly, Actions keeps track of the work you need to do and when you need to do it.

So, how do Actions work?

1. Need to create a deadline or set up an appointment? Anything you see in Slack that needs a follow-up can be turned into an action when you click the ••• icon and choose an “action.”

2. When you’ve completed an action, a message appears in your Slack channel and lets your team know you’ve flagged it for follow-up.

3. Whichever app you’ve integrated with will alert Slack at which point you and your team can determine the next steps.

Bottom-line, Actions help keep your workflow moving. While it may not stop the onslaught of Slack messages from breaking your concentration, at least you’ll know what you should to be concentrating on.

If you’re curious to know more about Actions, the company has ample info on their API pages for your perusal.

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Tech News

Freezetab streamlines how you save tabs in Chrome

(TECH NEWS) Freezetab is the newest chrome extension that allows you to organize saved tabs in a myriad of ways.

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Internet made easier

With the browser becoming more and more of a workspace than merely an application, the built in bookmarks tool may leave you a bit hungry for more.

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Chrome users who need better tools to organize and manage bookmarks may find the power they need in Freezetab.

Bookmark’s cooler, hotter younger brother

Freezetab seeks to answer the questions of “what if I could organize my bookmarks by website” or “I only want to save all but two of these tabs on zen office designs.” It seeks to give you more options beyond the “one or all” choices in chrome. Here is the lowdown:

  • The calendar feature remembers WHEN you saved a tab – so if you can’t remember the title you can just go back to the day.
  • Chrome either lets you save one or all tabs. Freezetab expands those options to include: all, current, everything but current, right of, left of, or pick and choose.
  • If you are sharing a collection of tabs with a workgroup or a partner, it exports as a nice textbox that is easy to share in integrated messaging, IM, or email. Or even social media!
  • Sorting is robust, and there is a solid search feature that searches as you type.
  • That quick save feature saves all the tabs and closes them – and you can adjust that quick save feature to meet your needs.
  • There is a handy little star feature to note important bookmarks (i.e. recipes and excel techniques).
  • Enhances your close tab capability to close everything to the left and specific tabs – this great if you work in chrome and have 75 tabs open that have one letter names.
  • It is easier to sort tabs after you save them – you can search for them and then sort into folders you create rather manually organizing them into folders.
  • As a bonus: for those who don’t want to have to sort bookmarks – unlike Chrome which requires you to pick a folder or risk turning your bookmarks to an unorganized mess, the extension automatically organizes it for you.

Freezetab findings

After spending a few moments with Freezetab, it does fit in nicely with a workflow. Solidly reviewed, the developer did solve an issue with “pinned” tabs in the 1.2 update. – so it doesn’t remove or add them. The features are nice and easy to use, and it doesn’t require more than five minutes of playing around.

One complaint – if you choose to the right or left of the current tab to close, it did close the active tab as well – which was a little funky. But once you get comfortable with the nuances, it’s easy to use.
The interface is function over form, but you won’t have any problem using or customizing this extension. Now Bookmark smart y’all!

#FreezeTab

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