The week in review: Eight things to know from the past 7 days
While you were working…
Both Facebook and Microsoft endured some criticism: Facebook is leaning towards fewer ads, and Microsoft wants its Windows 10 platform to become completely cloud-based. On the other hand, observers are pleased with Microsoft open-sourcing its .NET framework, and with a new line of coding tools that Amazon released last week. Excitement is similarly brewing over new algorithmic programs that could help independent professionals, such as financial advisers and business consultants, to find clients. Other big innovations are in the works: A new lineup of Web-connected toys, for instance, and a somewhat more controversial robo-butler.
- Forget Internet of Things, the Internet of Toys is here. Krissa Watry, co-founder of product-design company Dynepic, is developing Web-connected toys that could teach youngsters engineering and technology skills—the programming interface might let users configure the toys’ function or even add on new functions by downloading new content from the Web.
- Users over advertisers? Facebook announced a big modification: it will start cutting down on the numbers of promotional posts in users’ news feeds. Page owners who want to advertise will have to buy ads instead. Many users had hitherto been complaining that their news feeds were too clogged with ads. But this announcement sparked new complaints from page owners who say that their Facebook posts were not reaching enough fans as it is.
- More opportunities for start-ups…thanks to startups. HourlyNerd and Quantopian, both debuted software programs that use algorithms to connect independent consultants and financial advisors to new clients, respectively. They hope to expand and democratize their professions, so that anyone with the desire and talent to work can find work, and so that smaller companies with limited budgets can get expert consultants more affordably than traditional means would allow.
For those in software development
Microsoft took away the placeholders…Microsoft took some criticism regarding the OneDrive on the new Windows 10. Unlike OneDrive in Windows 8.1, the Windows 10 version doesn’t show all the files that are stored in the cloud. Windows 8.1’s OneDrive shows all cloud-stored files as “smart files” that download when the user clicked on them. Windows 10 OneDrive requires users to open a browser and comb through OneDrive’s online interface to see everything that’s in the cloud. More than 270 Windows testers posted pleas to the company’s discussion thread to bring the placeholders back.
…but open sourced more of its software. Microsoft also received much praise last week for making the core parts of its .Net framework open-source. Whereas you used to only be able to download .Net to a Windows desktop or server, it may now soon be able to run on Linux, Mac, iOS, or an Android. This is the latest in a continuous trend of Microsoft open-sourcing more and more of its developer tools.
Developers have been increasingly demanding it, partly because Windows is no longer the only operating system that they work with.
And Amazon is following suit. Amazon is also offering developers some new tools. The e-commerce giant debuted a lineup of coding-related products at its Nov. 12 AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas. They include AWS CodeDeploy, which deploys released code as scheduled updates; AWS CodeCommit, which hosts Git depositories and works with Git-based tools; and AWS CodePipeline; which facilitates the software development process with features for designing workflows, monitoring source code, and coordinating the staging, testing, and release processes.
- Omnichannel might disrupt the supply chain. The latest (retail) trend, which aims to better meet the needs of customers wherever they may be, might be expanding its changes to the supply chain. Even the packaging might have to be adopted based on the location of the buyer. The dynamic market changes make it incredibly hard to forecast demand, according to director of supply chain at Boots, but this will make supply chain incredibly exciting in the coming years.
Innovation of the Week
- Ready for a robotic house servant? Robot Butler Inc. announced that it will soon offer consumers a robot that can help them with almost any day-to-day activities. The concept elicits mixed feelings, and the company’s Twitter page filled up very quickly with comments both pro and con. Some tech experts cheered the company’s vision, while reviewers tweeted a litany of concerns about privacy, safety concerns, and software performance problems. Robotic Butler has a few kinks to work out, to say the least.
What did you find most interesting in the past 7 days?
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