Posted In:Technology Archives - Pligg

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Why Is Everyone Nostalgic for 90s Electronics?

July 3, 2017 - By 
90s electronics

90’s nostalgia is a hit on the internet. People pine for classic Nicktoons like Rocko’s Modern Life to return, high school kids think it’s cool to like 90’s music, and the entire Sega Genesis catalog is being made available for iPhones and Androids.

People are even nostalgic for not-so-good 90’s movies like Space Jam.

But why are 90’s tech gadgets becoming such a point of obsession?

It’s an interesting question: no matter how cool a decade is, tech is supposed to get continuously better. Is there really a reason for this explosion? We decided to find out.

Tech Then

We even got early versions of the tech we use today. The Apple Newton offered to be the first Tablet, and the IBM Simon was the first smartphone.

The tech world’s tendency to overpromise and underdeliver may be best embodied by Nintendo’s early experiment with VR, the Virtual Boy. The device offered incredibly immersive 3D if the user could forget that the entire thing was in black and white and the device could cause headaches.

What was most bizarre about the Virtual Boy was Nintendo’s attempts to market it as “portable” when the device was clearly bulky and difficult to use.

Other tech devices became classics frozen in time. Think of the Walkman, Gameboy, and Playstation. Each device shaped the technology of its time and was incredibly common.

90’s tech was about experimentation and growth. There were some spectacular failures, in the form of overpriced early smartphones and bulky early tablets. The Virtual Boy, in particular, was exceptional in its failures.

There were other devices that were able to change the face of technology by influencing a generation of innovators to reach for the stars.

Tech Now

Today’s tech industry remains focused on creating highly polished apps and devices. There’s more consolidation in the industry, with iPhones being 30 percent of smartphones owned in the US.

We’re also seeing the results of 90’s era experimentation benefiting today’s consumers. This decade’s been defined by the birth of the iPhone, and smart devices have reached the point that we’re here┬ádebating smart TVs and refrigerators.

We also see many innovations ahead. Virtual and augmented reality headsets are just beginning to gain ground and wearable technology has become a lot more accessible. It’s clear we’ve gotten far away from the days of the Virtual Boy.

An Explanation

So why are we obsessed with 90’s technology today?

The answer is influence and imagination, mixed with good old-fashioned nostalgia for childhood.

Those in their 20’s and 30’s had their childhood defined by 90’s technology. Things like the Walkman, Gameboy, and Sega Genesis provided formative childhood memories for a generation of emerging adults.

They’ve also seen the groundwork of today’s tech built up from their youthful interests. The same spectacular ambitions that lead to failure or at the very least inaccessibility in the 1990’s lead to success today.

These devices might not have had the best hardware or software, but they certainly shaped our world.


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The Next Frontier for AI: Pest Control?

April 20, 2017 - By 
artificial intelligence

Does the notion of blending Artificial Intelligence (AI) and pest control leave you with the image of a massive chrome droid mowing down cockroaches with a flamethrower?

Well, it’s not that dramatic. Nor dangerous. And it’s also not just some futuristic vision.

In fact, many pest companies are already using AI in their daily operations.

Sure, there’s the possibility down the road of some fancy chrome robot handling your pest issues.

But for now, it’s possible that you work in pest control and may not even realize that your company is already using this technology.

And why not? Revenue from it is predicted to reach over $36 billion dollars by the year 2025.

So what are some of the current ways AI is being used in pest control?

Well, the list isn’t extensive. But the ways it’s being used so far has made it an effective addition to the pest control toolbox.

1. AI for marketing automation and lead management.

There’s nothing exciting or sci-fi about this.

But cost-effective prospect generation is always a challenge. And generating leads for pest control is no different.

Converting leads to customers can be even harder. Especially for smaller operations that may not have a sales team. Sales and marketing automation can activate emails that will appeal to undecided prospects.

Yeah, like we said, boring. But it’s still AI. And it’s valuable.

2. AI for route optimization.

One of the factors that make people uneasy about AI is the “replace the human” component that’s connected with it in sci-fi lore.

This is not the intention of route optimization tools.

The tools were developed to take out the inefficiency of what was once a painfully slow manual process so that employees can make the best use of their time. It’s still understood that only humans are capable of holding valuable domain knowledge that comes from being familiar with a place.

3. AI in the form of drones.

Okay. Now it’s getting interesting.

Imagine that you’re having issues with ant control in your home and these little drones come whirling in and eradicate them.

Again, not the way it works.

Drones are incredibly helpful for home inspections. But certified drone operators are needed to ensure the safety and privacy of the customer.

And there’s the additional issue of going through government procedure to make it legal to operate them.

Still, all of these extra hassles are worth it for many pest control companies because drones can provide views of hard-to-reach places where bugs or other wildlife may be entering unseen.

4. AI in the form of advanced rodent traps.

A UK-based pest control company is experimenting with rodent traps equipped with sensors and WiFi. The rodent traps forward data to a command center built by the company.

If a rodent is caught, a member of the staff is sent to the area to remove the animal. This is more efficient than conducting routine patrols only to find empty traps.

The cool part here is that the company uses the data to fine tune its digital pest control services. For instance, they can potentially identify rodent breeding or migration patterns, as well as infestation-risk hotspots, before it becomes a bigger issue.

AI gives pest control companies the option of shifting from a reactive approach to a more pro-active one.

When it comes right down to it, pest control businesses that incorporate intelligent technology into daily operations can reduce the behind-the-scenes time and make better use of technician time.