Tech Deals: $400 Off 12.9-Inch 2017 iPad Pro, $70 Off Apple HomePod, $25 Off AirPods, More

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It may be the close to the weekend, the end of working week, and a celebration of Easter in a lot of countries across the world, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t continue to save money on technology when making purchases. As always, our deals are here to save you money on every purchase. Take a look through the deals, find something that you like, and make sure that you act quickly before the deal ends.

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DJI and FLIR launch drone tech that saves lives

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dji and flir launch zenmuse xt2 and sdk

Drone industry leader DJI has teamed up with thermal imaging specialists FLIR to launch a new two-lensed camera system that enables drones to break new ground in infrastructure inspection, precision agriculture, firefighting, and search and rescue applications.

The technology was demonstrated at the headquarters of the Menlo Park fire department in California.

Read more: How drones are helping hurricane recovery efforts

Two eyes in the sky

The Zenmuse XT2 is both an optical and a thermal imaging camera. The two lenses enable the camera to capture heat signatures that are invisible to the naked eye while also providing a 4K video feed for data capture and situational awareness.

Although the dual-vision has many potential uses, from inspecting solar farms to detecting hazardous materials, it has obvious advantages in emergency rescue situations.

dji and flir launch new camera for emergency services
The Zenmuse XT2 camera provides two separate video feeds.

“The Zenmuse XT2 continues our longstanding partnership with FLIR to create the most powerful thermal imaging solution available on a drone today,” said Jan Gasparic, DJI’s head of enterprise partnerships.

“This is a significant advance for public safety professionals who are using drones to save lives, and create new industrial applications across different verticals.”

Read more: Vodafone to trial air traffic control system for drones

“We are excited to continue our collaboration with DJI to develop sensors for their industry-leading drone platforms,” said Frank Pennisi, president of the Industrial Business Unit at FLIR Systems.

“The Zenmuse XT2 uses a radiometric thermal imaging camera core to capture accurate temperature data for every pixel, ensuring that drone operators have access to as much information as possible during critical, and often life-saving, missions.”

The Zenmuse XT2 is compatible with DJI’s Matrice 200 and Matrice 600 Pro enterprise models.

Software hotspots

The innovation doesn’t all lie in the hardware, however. The onboard software includes two intelligent flight modes to assist first responders. These include Spotlight Pro, which allows the pilot to focus on flying while the camera automatically keeps the hottest object, or a specified area, in its sights.

For infrastructure inspections or emergencies involving hazardous materials, the Temp Alarm feature analyses thermal data from above in real-time, and alerts the operator when an object’s temperature goes above a designated limit.

Read more: Smart city hotspots: FLIR manages traffic using thermal imaging

Saving a life every week

Christian Struwe, DJI’s European head of public policy, told Internet of Business that the company is proud to move beyond consumer photography into areas that are more socially useful.

“Every day we see an increasing number of stories from around the world, of drones not only saving time and money, but more importantly peoples’ lives. In fact, just last year DJI released the first-ever survey of lifesaving drone activities, finding that on average drones save almost one life per week.

“As a company, we’re really proud that the technology that makes this possible started with the drones that people fly for fun. Just like with computers and phones, as more people see the good things drones are doing, the more they appreciate the benefits this technology brings to society.”

Democratising drone technology

DJI has also released a new Payload Software Development Kit (SDK), which enables developers to build specialised platforms for any industrial purpose.

Together with the accompanying Skyport adapter, the Payload SDK opens the door to anyone seeking to integrate customised sensors and cameras with drone platforms. DJI sees the move as “unlocking the true potential of drone technology”.

“Our new Payload SDK makes it possible for any manufacturer to create a payload specific to their customers’ needs that will work seamlessly with DJI’s aircraft,” said Gasparic.

“We believe these advances will not only strengthen DJI’s leadership in the commercial drone industry, but will also provide a powerful, flexible, and standardised platform that customers from different industries can build upon.”

Read more: DJI launches FlightHub for drone fleet management

Internet of Business says

Drones that are capable of saving lives could help to turn the tide of public opinion in favour of the technology; many still associate it with enthusiasts intruding on public spaces, or link the word with military applications.

As by far the biggest hardware manufacturer in this space, DJI should be congratulated for broadening its focus and for recognising the technology’s potential to transform a range of industries.

The post DJI and FLIR launch drone tech that saves lives appeared first on Internet of Business.

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Robot Exoskeletons, Artificial Muscles, Handheld Printers — Here Are the Top 6 Advances in Tech (So Far)

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Six technology advancements will revolutionize our future, but which will have the biggest impact?

The post Robot Exoskeletons, Artificial Muscles, Handheld Printers — Here Are the Top 6 Advances in Tech (So Far) appeared first on Futurism.

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China looked at investing in SoftBank’s $100 billion tech fund

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The Vision Fund has ratcheted back some of its ambitions in China due to political considerations.

The Chinese government had talks about possibly financing the world’s most ambitious investment project, SoftBank’s $ 100 billion bet on the future of technology known as the Vision Fund.

China’s largest sovereign wealth fund, the China Investment Corporation, last year spoke with the Vision Fund about making an investment, according to five people with knowledge of or briefed on the conversations. A contribution from CIC, which has $ 800 billion to invest, would have been very politically controversial, but it would also supply the Vision Fund, led by CEO Masayoshi Son, with a steady spring of capital for future versions of SoftBank’s project.

Sources differ on how serious the talks became, but a contribution has yet to materialize, leading many to believe that the chance of an investment at this point in this fund is unlikely. China could still strike a deal that would allow SoftBank to invest alongside it, these sources say, though SoftBank is said to be discouraged by the political and regulatory risks that would come with accepting Chinese investors into their fund.

SoftBank declined to comment. CIC spokespeople did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

SoftBank’s Vision Fund is also serious enough about China that it had been scouting last year for a new local partner to lead its investing in Chinese companies, two people familiar with the conversations tell Recode. The aim was to bolster SoftBank’s on-the-ground connections. The fund had deep recruiting conversations with at least one senior China candidate, the people said.

The moves shed light on the challenges for SoftBank in China, as well as China’s ambitions outside its borders. A deal would appeal to both sides for a few reasons, at least on paper.

To begin with, SoftBank, for all its riches, has been slow to do a final close on the Vision Fund, which currently stands at $ 92 billion, short of its $ 100 billion target. The firm originally said the fund would close by the end of 2017 but now says it will reach its financing target by this June. SoftBank has, of course, been pitching almost all the top sovereign funds as it works to close the fund.

A deal with China would also give Son a powerful ally in Beijing, where he has had at times a rocky relationship, and where he made his name with a landmark bet on Alibaba in 1999.

SoftBank failed to make headway in China when it first entered the market 18 years ago. Son made a play to invest in the country through the creation of a fund focused on early-stage investments there. But ties between SoftBank and the fund weakened as Son grew more interested in later-stage deals; the fund still exists but now has outside investors beyond SoftBank.

China could still be attractive for future Vision Funds. Saudi Arabia, which, like China, has eagerly sought to diversify its assets and invest overseas, has been expected globally to help finance SoftBank’s investments in part through the $ 1.5 trillion initial public offering of Aramco, the kingdom’s state-owned oil company.

But delays of the IPO, plus the general political upheaval in the nation, could mean that the Vision Fund needs to more aggressively court other sources of money.

What would a deal have offered the Chinese? The CIC needs places to park its cash, and there is no bigger repository than the Vision Fund. While the CIC has long been a limited partner in some of Silicon Valley’s top growth and private equity funds, the CIC’s budget means it does not have time for smaller placements of capital into smaller investment pools, like standard venture capital funds.

China’s CIC is also trying to become a big player in U.S. technology. It plans to open an office in San Francisco in order to more easily make direct investments into Silicon Valley. It is also staffing up in New York City.

But its track record in U.S. technology is considered by almost all veteran tech investors to be quite poor, mostly because it cannot get access to the best companies. That means the investments that it does make are generally in less-desirable startups. Decisionmaking within the sovereign wealth fund is also described as slow and bureaucratic.

Putting its money into SoftBank would give it access to the tech players it might not otherwise be able to reach.

Another reason why the CIC may want to work through the Vision Fund — politics. The U.S. government closely scrutinizes Chinese deals in the U.S. through the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). The CIC has criticized the Trump administration for what it sees as a tough, opaque crackdown, and running the deals under a SoftBank banner might solve the regulatory problem.

But the Vision Fund, according a source familiar with the fund, has ratcheted back some of its ambitions in China exactly due to CFIUS considerations. Chinese investment through a fund could still trigger government scrutiny.

The Trump administration, for instance, recently blocked the takeover bid of U.S company Qualcomm by the Singapore-based Broadcom, on national security grounds. Broadcom had already maneuvered to re-domicile in the U.S., potentially making a CFIUS review moot, but that didn’t sway the Trump administration from moving to block the deal.

These latest developments now suggest it may be too late for CIC to strike a deal with SoftBank. The Trump Administration’s tough stance toward China has scared Chinese investors trying to deploy cash in the U.S., sources say.

There is another option on the table, according to sources with knowledge of the talks. China and SoftBank could enter into what’s known as a “co-investing” relationship. Under that kind of understanding — formal or informal — CIC would be introduced to some of the best technology deals outside of China without having to pay management fees to the Vision Fund. And CIC could correspondingly help the Vision Fund hear about the best opportunities in China, where it similarly wants to do more.

CIC is said to be impressed with the prestige of the Vision Fund, according to multiple people who have spoken with the sovereign fund recently, and is attracted to the chance to tie its brand to Son much like the CIC did to Goldman Sachs. Last year, the two entities entered into a partnership for a $ 5 billion fund to invest in U.S. manufacturing. CIC also recently pulled out of an investment deal with Blackstone.

SoftBank has also been more aggressively chasing deals in China, sources say. The Vision Fund is planning to put money into at least two separate Chinese startups. Both those investments were part of the same funding rounds in which CIC also participated. It’s not known which companies received the funding, though the Vision Fund reportedly is considering an investment in Manbang Group.

Those deals drew notice because — with some notable exceptions — the Vision Fund and CIC have not historically invested in the same round of a startup, close observers of the relationship say. Going ahead with the investments is a sign of SoftBank’s renewed push into China.


Recode – All

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Tech Deals: $85 Off iPhone 8 Plus, $50 Google Play Gift Card For $45, $460 Galaxy S8+, More

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There is nothing quite like a small amount of online retail therapy in order to take away the blues of the working week. Thankfully, we are always on hand on a daily basis to ensure that we bring you the best technology deals that we can find in order to save you as much money as possible on those purchases. Check out the deals below, find something that you like, and make sure you go checkout before the deals expire. Enjoy!

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6 Ways to Make Buying a House More Affordable in This Tech Age

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Colorful residential row houses in US capital before sunset in late autumn.

If you feel that buying a house has become less affordable in recent years, it’s not your imagination. A Harvard University study found that nearly 40 million Americans live in housing they can’t afford, meaning they’re spending more than 30 percent of their income on the place they own or rent. That represents a 146 percent increase over the past 16 years.

As the Harvard study found, home prices have gone up — by as much as 50 percent in some areas — but wages haven’t maintained the same pace. That means millions of Americans who dream of owning a home have felt themselves hampered by not just student debt and credit card debt but also by their reduced buying power.

The trick, then, is to find ways to make buying a house more affordable — and most of these have nothing to do with your income. Over the past six months I purchased a new home and then sold my old home. I’ve learned a lot about how to find homes online. In todays tech age buying a house is possible and finding the right deal is possible. Here is how I did it.

  1. Cut the commission.

Commission on real estate transactions sits at just over 5 percent nationwide. That’s a big chunk of change to fork over right as you’re moving into a new home that may need repairs or furnishing. Some people avoid commission by working with a friend who’s a realtor — and willing to give up his or her agent or broker fees.

Another option is to use a service like Beycome, which removes the middleman (aka the realtor) and allows buyers and sellers to interact directly. The platform digitizes the standard FSBO transaction by helping with listings, scheduling home tours, and finalizing the deal with a contract.

  1. Boost your credit score.

It’s no secret that a higher credit score results in a lower interest rate. Boosting your credit score from “fair” to “good,” for example, could make mortgage payments feasible — and improving your credit score could also help you qualify for loans or lines of credit for things you may want to do to the house in the future, such as replace furniture or build an addition.

To raise your score, pay all your bills on time, keep your credit card balances low, and avoid opening up new lines of credit when possible — every “hard pull” on your credit affects your score.

  1. Look for the best numbers.

Don’t settle for the first loan rate you’re given — shop around to see which lender can give you the lowest rate. Some people successfully counter one lender’s offer with another’s to get the rate they want with the lender they want. The other number you can look to lower alongside your interest rate is your down payment; determine whether the homes you’re looking at qualify for special programs. Some of these ask for down payments as low as 3 percent; the USDA Rural Development ProgramVA loans, and the Navy Federal Credit Union all offer zero-payment loans.

  1. Invest in DIY.

Fixer-upper homes and do-it-yourself projects haven’t just fueled HGTV; they’ve also helped lots of new homeowners quench their thirst for a home. Some repairs or renovations are, without a doubt, costly — replacing a roof or overhauling an entire kitchen can represent a big upfront cost.

But many houses on the market need TLC — say, a new coat of paint — or simply need to be tweaked in stages to meet a new owner’s preferences. Being your own general contractor means you get to spend money simply on materials, not on labor or mark-ups, meaning more money stays in your pocket. Each improvement will also result in more equity for you, so your hard work will result in real money earned down the road.

  1. Protect your investment.

One price that sometimes surprises new homeowners is the cost of home insurance. To keep the cost of a homeowner policy low, talk to your insurance company about bundling your home and car policies for a reduced rate.

You can also protect your home investment by looking for credits beyond the purchase price. A common credit is one awarded for overdue repairs, but some people are also able to earn credits for closing costs or home warranties. All of these options can reduce the overall cost of purchasing the home.

  1. Rein in your expectations.

If you’ve saved up for a home for years, you likely have your heart set on something very specific: Victorian style, lots of turrets, window seats built in for every kid, original hardwood floors. But the term “starter home” exists for a reason — most people need to “trade up” to a bigger home down the line.

It’s important to spend less than you can truly afford to cushion yourself against a market crash and to be able to save for the other priorities you might have, like retirement or college. Look for what meets your needs and makes you happy — while that 1990s ranch home may look a bit cookie-cutter compared to your beloved Victorians, if it’s in a good school district, close to work, and big enough for your family, it may be the smartest choice.

Buying a house may be less affordable than it once was, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. By looking for ways that you can increase the spending power of the money and credit you currently have, you can improve your chances of buying a house you can truly afford — and be happy to call home.

The post 6 Ways to Make Buying a House More Affordable in This Tech Age appeared first on ReadWrite.

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Facebook latest: video issue emerges; firm blocks data brokers; tech workers say they will delete accounts

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Concerns over Facebook’s privacy policies don’t appear to be diminishing. Some users taking advantage of the opportunity to download an archive of all the data Facebook holds in their account are discovering a surprise: it includes videos they shot but never posted …

more…

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Tech Deals: Rare $20 Discount On Apple HomePod, $9 iPhone 8 Plus Case, $10 Off Mario Odyssey For Nintendo Switch, More

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Technology and new products are always better when you don’t have to pay full price in order to own them. In fact, that really goes for any form of shopping. The bigger the discount, the sweeter the purchase. As always, our daily tech deals are designed to ensure that you simply do not need to pay full price in order to get some new gadgetry or tech-based hardware in your life.

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Tim Cook: Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica consumer data debacle forces tech industry beyond self-regulation

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Speaking on Wednesday, Apple CEO Tim Cook criticized Facebook for its mishandling and commercialization of consumer data, and again concedes that the time may be past for self-regulation of how companies handle personal information.
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Apple to turn Lane Tech into ‘Center for Excellence’ for training teachers on Swift

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Apple on Wednesday announced a partnership with Chicago Public Schools and Northwestern University, which will establish a "Center for Excellence" at Lane Tech College Prep High School — the place where Apple held its Tuesday iPad event.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News

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